I hate to let go of summer, which begs the question why I don’t live in a place that has sun and warmth all year long. The simple answer is that my immediate family is here, and I quite love living near my grown kids and grandkids and their spouses or spouses-to-be. The rest of the answer is that sunny and warm places have other complications. Panama is sunny and warm for half the year; the other half is rainy season and water falls from the sky in monsoon waves that bring a sharp uptick in bugs carrying diseases like dengue fever. Everything is damp to the touch, the humidity is so high that sweat doesn’t evaporate from your body, and in general it’s a miserable time. San Diego is sunny and warm but California estate taxes are killer — not a smart place to go for an older person in my situation. The southwest is sunny and warm but the politics suck and there is no water. Florida has hurricanes, and I wouldn’t move there anyway — far too conservative for my taste.
Tasmania sounds appealing on a lot of levels — my recent houseguest’s son lives there — but it’s on the other side of the world.
My strategy as we make the turn past Labor Day into fall is to focus on the beginning of the new cultural season here in Seattle, the upcoming holidays — grandkids’ birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — and the chance to get my outdoors finally planted. Seattle is so dry in the summer the landscapers didn’t want to put in new plants and grass and bushes, fearing I wouldn’t be able to water enough to keep them alive. They’ll be going in now, and by next spring the front and back yard should be beautiful.
One plus of three seasons less sunny is that I can forego the hat I have to wear in the summer to keep the sun off my face and prevent the formation of more actinic keratosis spots — pre-cancerous lesions that the dermatologist blasts off with a cold and stingy liquid nitrogen spray. I hate hats, but comply in the summer because I hate having those things blasted off even more. But when overcast weather comes, I continue to use sunscreen but forego the hat.
Going hatless is a small thing but it matters. 🙂