September has arrived with cooler temperatures and a brilliantly blue sky. The kind of sky that seems to belong to September in New York. But this morning I realized there is something missing in New York September mornings as I watched the Today Show as an interviewee stood under another blue sky in front of a familiar backdrop - Salt Lake's City Hall. Catching a glimpse of that scene as I finished my breakfast and packed my lunch and snacks into my purse was enough to stick with me on my walk to work in the air that is just cool enough to warrant a sweater but still warm enough that sandals and bare legs are comfortable. As I walked I relished the warming sun on my face contrasted against a cool breeze and it clicked - while this feels like the early warnings of fall, I know what is missing.
In Salt Lake there is a smell that comes with that early morning cool air. I'm not talking about the stench of the lake that hits like an olfactory assault or the late fall scent of distant bonfires and dead leaves. The smell I am trying to recall and failing to capture is one of cool freshness and it reminds me of walking to school as a kid shivering for lack of a jacket (because I knew it wouldn't be needed after an hour or so) or climbing into my car and rolling the windows down just a smidge to surround myself with the enticing scent. It is the perfect weather for new resolutions and beginnings. Why does the new year start in the middle of the coldest season when, at best, I'm inspired to curl up on my couch? School years are really the mark of new beginnings, even when all I am doing is recomitting to the same job I've held for years.
But I'm not ready this year.
For the first time that I can remember, I want to hold onto summer.
I want the sun to shine a little bit brighter and a little bit warmer. I want to relish 80 degree temps for a few more weeks before sliding into the comfortable 70s. I want to enjoy another day or two at the beach. I want to go to a Yankees game on a warm summer night. I want to drive somewhere with the windows rolled down, my hair whipping about wildly and my skin browning under the sun. I want to spend another day lying on the grass on my rooftop sweating from the humidity. I want to buy a cone from Mr Softee and walk through the park as the sun sets. I want to play cards on a blanket spread out on the grass. I want to have a barbeque on my parent's back porch with watermelon and summer salads and darn fresh corn. I want to go for a hike in my chacos, shorts and a t-shirt. I want to have dinner with friends at a sidewalk cafe and enjoy an extra long day of sunshine.
But mostly. I want my summer vacation.
Sure, I've taken a few days off from work here and there and yes, I had a beautiful long weekend at a beach a couple of weeks ago but what I am regretting is that I have not ticked off a new destination from my wishlist. I have not escaped from my job, my apartment, this city for a week long stretch. I did not get to spend this summer researching a new country's sites and food or making travel plans. Instead, I celebrated at a couple of beautiful long-distance weddings and assumed I would be too busy for anything else.
Except, I wasn't.
This August turned out to be like every other August and the halls at work emptied out, the phones stopped ringing, emails slowed down, automatic out of office replies filled my inbox, Friday's felt optional and working past 6 felt excessive. All of that has been a nice change in pace but I feel like I missed something. That I am missing something. And I know what it is.
Luckily, a week from tomorrow I get one. It isn't as long as I would like (under a week) and it isn't quite as exotic as I may have preferred but with any luck I will get to wake up on the morning of the 11th and be reminded of that cool morning scent of my native city.