Saturday, September 29, 2007

You know Summer is over when ...

For many of us who live in countries with distinct seasons, the transition is felt both on a physical and an emotional level. In Canada, going from summer to fall is felt in myriad of ways. For some, the end of summer is marked by the start of the first day of school . For others, it’s the first fallen leaves. And if you’re like my friend Jackie, it’s the first sign of sweaters and boots on display at her favourite stores (her summer usually ends around mid-August!).

But for me, there is one deliberate act that undeniably signals the finality of summer: the closing of the pool. It happened this past weekend, punctuated by a visual representation that always makes me shudder. Nothing says summer is “finito” than watching a green tarp pulled over a beautiful azul pool.

What an opposite feeling I had this past spring. I was giddy with childlike anticipation when the pool boys arrived one warm May morning and unfurled the pool cover to expose the murky water that slept silently underneath all winter long. The water was green and cloudy, but it didn’t matter because I knew that in a few short days the salt water system would do its usual cleansing and soon I would be dipping my toes into our bath-like 86°F tub.

Our backyard is an extension of our family room. One side of our yard is marked by five-hole putting green complete with chipping areas, while the other side houses our oversized heated outdoor pool (see photo above). Oh, what fun we had this summer. I watched my little girl swim without water wings and watched her masterfuly touch the bottom of the pool and swim full lengths. This was an ego boost for her (and a relief for her parents!) to know that she can master a 10-foot-deep pool. We had numerous parties and late night swims with friends and, if we were feeling a little uninhibited, we even dove in sans bathing suits. But it was the mid-summer’s warm air when I would go into a hyptonic state as I watched the lamp light’s evening glow dance over the aqua.

But this weekend brought about a feeling of dread and sadness because I know the pool will hibernate for at least eight months before we splash in her again. The pool boys arrived at exactly 10:03 a.m. Saturday morning and, with the focused attention of surgeons, they went to work. I watched sadly as they removed the pool toys, stairs, diving board and floaties and then attached a huge hose to suck out some of the water. A backwash, a skimming and a vacuum and it was finally time to once again stretch the dark green cover over the open mouth of pool. As they fastened the last latch I winced and knew that I would not be treading water under a bright hot sun in our backyard until next year.

Later that night, during dinner, Gerry looked at me in that matter-of-fact way of his and said, “Honey, remind me tomorrow to order a cord of wood for the fireplace.”

Oy Vay, I thought. Summer really is over.

Which reminds me: Wherever did we put that darn snow shovel?

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