"The second summer is beginning here" father said when I called up my parents.
They live towards the southern tip of peninsular India and they are beginning to feel the extra scorch from the sun, which is nearing the equator in its southern movement.
"Did summer really end? I asked him. "Isn't it always merely three seasons in Chennai--hot, hotter, and hottest?"
The sun's path towards the south is, of course, a lot more to experience in my part of the world. The sun rise is getting later by the day, and it sets earlier with every passing day. The mornings are a lot cooler now compared to the July days.
Blueberries and blackberries belong to the past anymore, and we will have to wait for the sun to come back up north again for us to feast on them off the plant.
The sun's movement means that I don't really have to wear a hat anymore either.
That, my dear reader, is what I meant I meant by topless by the river. Perhaps you thought I spotted a redhead who was topless, eh!
My neighbor, who is a self-designated "porch person" during these sunny and dry months, noticed that I was topless. "Hey, no hat today?"
A few days ago, he noticed that I didn't have either of my straw hats on, but had a different one that I use only when traveling. "Why this hat today?" he asked me. I explained the logic: "there are rain clouds up there. This all-weather one will work in case it rains. I don't want to mess up the other ones, which are not easily replaceable."
Of those other two, one is a hat that I picked up in Ecuador. As much as I enjoyed that country and its people, I have no plans to re-visit Ecuador, given the number of other places on the planet that I want to visit, and, thus, I need to take extra care of this hat.
My neighbor's observation of me with no hat is all because, well, it has been months since I was out walking without a hat.
"Because it is not hot today, and the sun is not that glaringly bright either" I replied as I continued on.
Over the past few months, with my daily exposure to the sun, I have tanned a lot. Yes, even we brown-skinned people tan.
There are fifty shades of brown, and perhaps you can see all those shades on me. Nah, you would not want to--for that, I will have to be in the nude and that ain't a pretty picture!
So, instead, here is a family-friendly photo of the tan lines on me, as evidence that it has been quite a summer on the bike path by the beautiful Willamette River. The feet, protected from the sun's rays by the shoes, have a light brown that is quite a contrast to the tanned brown on top, right? (Contributions for a pedicure treatment welcome!)
The Labor Day weekend is pretty much a collective regret that the summer is over. That is all ok because, for now, it is my brother's turn way down under in Australia to welcome the sun.