It was officially 5 days in the fall but mother nature didn't give a damn and the mercury was rising. Oak woke up on the wrong side of the bed, it was hot and humid, and I was more tired than usual. Will fall ever get here? I looked out the window with my lukewarm coffee and longed to wear a pair of blue jeans and not have eyebrow sweat when we went for our morning walk.
The kids were whining. If the humidity didn't suffocate me, the high-pitched cries for no reason from my children would. I had books to read and activities planned, but I changed my mind. The weather man was yelling through the speakers "Relief is in sight, Central Illinois! Fall weather is on the horizon." I dumped my coffee, turned the TV off, and loaded the kids up. Everyone was some form of cranky, and the only thing that always helps is getting outside, regardless of the dew point.
We went to a local preserve I discovered a few months ago that has the closest thing we have to a beach in the area. Our ocean is the Illinois River, and our treasures are small shells, fish bones, driftwood and the occasional piece of glass. It's far from the white sandy beaches of the real coast, but it was the perfect fix for the moods that plagued us.
We came home after a couple hours, tired, soggy, and sweaty, but it was needed and served as our silent farewell to the summer. The next morning we woke up to a crisp chill in the air and everyone was a little more smiley. Summer was gone.
In the winter, when we are cold and whining again, longing for warmer days when we can sit soggy and sweaty, we will revisit these pictures, this story, and be reminded that the beauty of every season is that it ends and comes back, only being gone just long enough for us to miss it.