What does Fall mean to you?

Living in beach towns for the past 10 years or so, I have grown accustomed to an overnight ending of summer. The day after Labor Day brings a palpable feeling of season’s end. The empty streets, sparse shorelines and quiet storefronts remind me of the city streets the day after a big parade. Lined with only ticker tape and empty cups, it is hard to imagine all the action that was there just a day before.

I spent my day after Labor Day on my neighborhood beach in Long Beach, where my second summer has drawn to a close as an LB resident. The beach was so serene I barely recognized it. All summer long, I squeezed my modest folding chair in between camps of families with wagons, rowdy teenagers with rolling coolers of beer, and older couples with umbrellas and big blankets. Today, I scored a picture perfect spot all to myself as close to the water as the tide would allow. As I looked around me, I saw locals happily enjoying this day, which I now think may be one of the best of the summer. Great weather, but no hoards of pretentious day-trippers make the Tuesday after Labor Day my new favorite day.

It’s funny how the end of summer has so many different meanings throughout a person’s life. As a young child, it’s the end of your fun, carefree, sprinkler-running days. As a teen, you sometimes look forward to going “back to school” to see your friends and get back in the swing of things. During college, summer meant coming back home to curfews and parents and September meant getting back to freedom and frat parties. After college, I waitressed and worked in one of the most touristy towns on the East Coast. End of summer meant the end of double shifts and big money, the end of cruise ships full of tourists, the end of beach days and crazy nights and always brought on the question of “now what?”

Now that I am part of the coffee-drinking, compulsive email-checking, metro-card carrying workforce, end of summer doesn’t much affect my daily routine. My commute remains the same my alarm clock will ring at the same time and my clients will still expect the same things. About the only hint of fall for me today was picking out an autumn shade for my pedicure…

So as another summer draws to a close and the smoky smell of fall is fast approaching, I am looking forward to pumpkin picking, watching football games (more on this later!) and the return of Caramel Apple Cider at my local Starbucks!

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