The Last Summer Night

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The Sun sets on summer on Jekyll Island, Georgia.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ~ John Steinbeck

There are any number of opinions on summer’s end, it’s transition into fall, and in New England we have more than most. Some relish the cooler temperatures, changing leaves and sweatshirt weather. Others can’t help but mourn summer’s passing.

I’ll tell you that as a fisherman I look forward to the fall, the migration of striped bass that it brings, and the promise of bluefish and stripers pushing bait right onto the beach.

But it’s certainly not the case that I’m “sick of summer.” Summer to me is trips to the Adirondack Mountains where my aunt has had a camp for decades, open windows and nights spent on my parents’ back deck, taking the top off the Jeep and watching fireworks with family.

I think looking forward to the fall has more to do with a mindset, an idea, or an ideology: Change is a positive thing.

I think life has a way of sorting people into two camps: Those who embrace change, and those who fear it. There are things that some of us, some of my friends and family, have experienced that have given them every right and reason to fear change and to fear the unknown. Life can be a terribly unfair process.

Change in of its very nature is uncertain, and uncertainty can be terrifying. Whatever our current circumstance, our location or our position… even if it’s not ideal, it’s at least familiar. And with familiarity comes comfort.

And you’ll hear these reasons, and I’ll not discount them, but for me it’s not “changing leaves,” “pumpkins,” or cooler temperatures that make me look forward to, embrace the beginning of a new season.

I’m hoping that I’ll run into a blitz of bluefish that I’ll be rehashing with friends for decades. I’m hoping the Red Sox will make an improbable run to the World Series and I’ll share that moment with all of the Boston fans cheering along, and friends and family too.

But I’m looking forward to the fall because the summer has passed, because I lived it and loved it and it was amazing, but now it’s over.

I’m looking forward to the fall, yes because striped bass and bluefish will be running, campfires will be a little more comforting, the scenery throughout New England and New York will, for however short a time, be stunning…

But mostly I’m looking forward to the fall because it’s in the future, and the future always holds the promise of being the most rewarding and fulfilling period of your existence. And although that optimism requires faith, or some of it at least, which means investing yourself emotionally in in something uncertain… I still believe that the investment is worth it.

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