Right now it is eighty-nine degrees outside. I forgot to water my plants this morning and my four o'clocks are draped over the sides of their pots, leaves hanging limply. The children are playing on the third floor with both air conditioners going full blast so that the toy room is inhabitable. Everyone will turn on the air conditioners at bed time tonight so they can sleep. Yesterday we spent three hours at the pool and nobody got cold.
Yes, it is September in Dushanbe.
After my first long, hot summer in Dushanbe, I figured that we would find some relief in September. After all, the first day of fall is in September, so one could reasonably expect something resembling cooler or at least cool-ish weather in September. And there is cooler weather in September because ninety-degree weather is cooler than one hundred-degree weather. But it isn't exactly the type of fall weather that one usually drinks hot chocolate to or starts making things like pumpkin bread (which will be happening here a lot this year as we use up our stores of canned pumpkin).
Every year I'm thrown by September. I attended school long enough to associate September with Not Summer, the month where carefree summer days at the pool turned into long slogs of school, homework, and increasingly shorter afternoons. All of my cute summer clothes would, after the first few weeks of school in August, be retired in favor of jeans and jackets and crisp fall mornings.
But here in Dushanbe we're still rocking summer, finally dipping into the upper eighties - temperatures that send countries like England into panic - halfway through September. I haven't even thought of breaking out jeans in months (I think I wore some in April, maybe) and I'm pretty sure I'll be caught flat-footed when the children finally need shoes and somebody has grown out of theirs.
September is the month of stale summer, unwelcome summer, summer that has stayed just a little too long. We were all happy to see summer back in May, when winter had bleached our skins paper-white and our diet had been reduced to mealy apples, stringy oranges, grainy greenhouse tomatoes, and soft potatoes for too many months to count. Summer was welcome, the season of abundant fresh produce, endless sunshine, and flip flops - every mom's favorite shoes. All of the flowers were in bloom, the swimsuits new, and trees full of bright, green leaves.
But summer has been here for months and everyone is ready to move on. The children's swimsuits are bleached and faded from months' use. The flowers are faded and dusty, plants tired of life. I groan inwardly at yet another afternoon hauling the children to the pool because it's still too hot to take a simple walk down to the park. A cup of hot chocolate is nice, in theory, but still oh so out of place.
But still September drags on, taunting us with shorter days, cooler nights, and slanting sunshine. It looks like it should be fall, it feels like it should be fall, but still you broil every time you step out your front door at noon.
I feel that I am looking a gift horse in the mouth and know that I will kick myself for wanting a day more of cold when I am in the depths of February, months from anything resembling flip-flop weather. I know that friends in places where September means the first frost are wanting to kick me right now.
But I suppose it is the nature of humans to never want too much of a good thing, and too much of a good thing is summer in September.
But it is not October yet, and so I will wait, holding my breath, with everyone else in Dushanbe for summer to finally die and fall to make its welcome appearance. Until then, however, you can find me at the pool.