Jessie: Back in New Hampshire, dreaming of wood smoke and apple cider

I’m sure I don’t need to remind any of our readers that the days are noticeably shorter and the leaves on the trees are showing their age. Despite the heat wave earlier this week cold weather will be upon us before long. Bathing suits will go into hibernation and Icelandic sweaters will take their turn at center stage. The BBQ grill will languish forlornly in a far corner of the deck and the slow cooker will assume pride of place on the kitchen counter. Freshly baked bread will replace cool garden salads and layers of body fat will seem like good planning instead of evidence of gluttony.

I love summer. I adore the languid pace, the bone-deep heat, the time I spend on the beach inhaling the salt breeze, lulled by the sound of the waves. I relish the abundance of fresh produce and the way I feel all hopped up on Vitamin D. I delight in hearing the twitter of birds and the buzzing of bees. I revel in clipping bountiful bouquets from my gardens. I rejoice in making plans that won’t be derailed by snowstorms.

But, in my heart of hearts I know I am a faithless lover. By late August my thoughts have turned to pencil boxes and composition notebooks. I crave a cool rainy day custom made for roasting a chicken and tucking up under a quilt with a book. I unabashedly cruise the knitting website Ravelry for cabled sweater patterns. I pull out my favorite knee-high leather boots and try them on just because I miss them.

Before the jack-o-lanterns are carved I find myself thinking of snow and tinsel and counting down to the new year. By Valentine’s Day I am searching online for deals on a Caribbean cruise and planning a menu for Easter dinner. Before the last of the Easter ham has been turned into pea soup I book a pedicure for sandal season.

It helps that with a few strokes of the keys I can create a world where the season perfectly aligns with my fickle heart. In the dead of winter I am free to imagine characters suffering from heat stroke. In the midst of a heat wave I can drum up a squall or a skating party or a foot plagued by frostbitten toes. What more could I possibly ask for?

Readers, do you ever wish for the pleasures of other seasons? If so, which ones do you most miss? Writers, do you find yourself writing out of season? Do you like to do so or is it difficult?

29 Thoughts

  1. I write out of season all the time. My mysteries all happen in Salem, but I write them from the sunny comfort of Florida. . .and don’t regret a minute of it!

  2. I lived in California twice (Los Angeles and Monterey) and didn’t miss the change of seasons at all. I think all of that wishing for a change is because the weather in the moment is so extreme. That said I do always look forward to fall.

  3. I think I always want summer to last the longest, because it seems the shortest. And because of the fresh produce, and the beach, of course. And yeah, it can be hard to write out of season. I have had a couple of books where I was right in the middle in real life as I was writing about, which really helps with details. With other books I’ve had to pay close attention to the season because I knew my schedule was going to have me writing about fall in the spring, for example.

    1. I’ve written out of season a lot too. I try to take note of pleasures and sufferings in any given season to squirrel away for later when I’ll need to remember the details. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. For some reason it is always easier for me to remember winter in the depths of the summer than the other way round.

  4. Jessie — I loved this blog. Not only because I agree with your sentiments, but because it was so beautifully written. You painted so many vivid images (e.g. the slow cooker taking center stage, etc.). Very impressive.

  5. The temperature plunged to a cool, rainy 70 here in Pittsburgh. I’m in heaven. Warm weather is nice, but yeah, by the time August rolls around and we’re enduring our umpteenth straight day of 90-plus degree temps, I’m ready for fall!

  6. Faithless lover – exactly! In the midst of this heatwave near D.C., I’m dreaming of kicking through piles of fallen leaves. and pumpkin bread. Coming soon, right?

    1. Ahh, pumpkin bread! My family hosts a cidering party every year and so autumn for me means sweet, apply goodness but pumpkin bread and pumpkin squares with cream cheese frosting are high on my list of fall favorites too.

  7. I love summer, and am really mourning the end of it this year. Probably as a result of our last oh-so-terrible winter. I do agree with you a lot, though I must admit, after the new year rings in, I just wait winter out. NOT my favorite time of year, for sure!

    1. Wouldn’t it be better if the holidays came later in winter or maybe were staggered? Like if we could have Christmas at the end of February and New Year on April 1? It would give more to look forward to than ice storms and heating bills.

  8. I love this post, written so well I can almost see the twinkling snow. I love the change of seasons too but bone-deep heat is good for old bones.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! Sometimes you just want to bask like a lizard, right? A couple of weeks ago I was out shopping and came across a portable dry sauna for sale at a deep discount. I was overwhelmed with desire for it. I truly had to step away to keep myself from wrapping my arms around it and whispering sweet nothings through its glass door.

  9. Back here in Illinois, the spider webs are multiplying faster on my front porch and siding than I can sweep them off. The squirrels are digging up my yard looking for places to plant their latest food snatch. So nature is preparing herself, even though the trees have not yet started to change. Having lived in Arizona for five winters, I’m still enjoying the green of late summer in the Midwest. I’m finishing “Death Takes No Bribes,” which is set in February in the Midwest. Imagination is a powerful thing!

  10. I love summer. I would love it if we kept summer year round.

    The instant it starts to cool off and we get our first rain, I’m in the mood for Christmas. (I’m a CA native. To me, rain is Christmas.) I love Christmas. But once that has passed, I’m ready for it to be warm again. We can skip January and February as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t deal with the cold the majority of the world does during winter. Imagine if I did.

  11. I need sunlight for my well being so No. California suits me. I don’t have far to travel to see snow,sand or waterand even Nevada is a trip trip.But like Jack my least favorite months are January and February but then I can go to SanFrancisco by ferry or my hometown of Napa and just go back in time when it was a sleepy little town but then downtown Napa is so much fun.

  12. I love the blooms, fresh veggies and smell of mowed grass in summer, but other than that I hate it. The heat saps me of any energy I may have, I sweat like I am in a sauna, the a/c can never be cold enough for me. Just do not like it. Plus my m/s hates it too. I look forward to Autumn, but here in middle TN is doesnt last long enough. I wait for winter, but it too rushes by like a cold wind. I even love Spring, but alas it is just a measly two weeks it seems. I need to move to Alaska I think as I am pretty sure that would have the perfect amount of each season.

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