It's been summer here in Tajikistan since May. I like summer. It's the season where you can throw on a pair of flip-flops and leave the house without any other preparation. No coats, shoes, hats, mittens, scarves, or socks. In summer you can spend hours at the pool and stay out at night eating ice cream in the warm, dark night. All of the trees are green and bazaars full of ripe, fresh produce that costs nearly nothing. The days are long and winter is a distant memory, cold dark place that once happened to someone you knew in another life. Summer could last forever.
But then the days start growing shorter and the light slants through the trees in that friendly way and maybe summer could actually let some other season take a break.
But here in Dushanbe, summer hasn't been taking that hint. The weather forecast has been perfectly consistent: 92 and sunny; 91 and sunny; 93 and sunny; 90 and sunny. And after awhile, it feels a little silly to be running your air conditioning every night when it's late September. And maybe shoes aren't such a bad thing. And jeans - what would it be like to wear jeans again? It would be nice to go to the park and enjoy a perfectly crisp fall day without sweating to death. But still nothing but nineties and sunny.
Then last Saturday it rained. It rained a lot, enough to wash the dust out of the air and off the trees and into the cracks in the sidewalk. It rained like it hadn't rained in months, and I enjoyed hearing the drops on the roof again and smelling the freshness that only rain brings.
When we woke up Sunday morning, it was fall. I opened the windows and let the cool breeze blow summer out of the house, months of air conditioning and hot rooms and sweaty bodies. I made hot chocolate and doughnuts. I pulled a cardigan out of my drawers.
When summer starts, after months of cold and grey and socks and shoes, I mourn for the day when it will be over. I can't imagine ever wanting to be cold again. But then summer lasts and lasts (and here in Dushanbe lasts) and maybe sweater weather isn't such a bad thing and I'm even ready for socks again. Time for some change. And then by the end of winter I'm ready for hot again.
And so the seasons go. I used to think that I wanted nothing more than to live on a tropical island in perpetual summer, swimming every day and never ever having to wear socks. Then I lived in Egypt where you could only tell that it was winter because the winter flowers were blooming. And suddenly winter wasn't such a bad thing, if only as the thing that brought you spring. It turns out that having some variety in your life is a good thing. Good to have the cold so that you can know the warm.
And so I'm glad for fall here in Dushanbe. It's okay that the days are growing shorter because they will grow longer again. The leaves can fall off the trees so that new green ones can come in the spring. The snow will bring flowers in time.
Welcome, fall. It's nice to see you again.