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Vogt's Notes: I think I'm ready to become a snowbird

It's time.

After a few cooler nights with the windows open, my husband and I reluctantly decided it's time to trade in the lighter comforter for the warmer down comforter. (Insert a heavy sigh here.)

We haven't done it yet. But just considering it makes me a bit sad.

Summer used to be the season I dreaded most. That was back when we didn't have air conditioning in the house. That was back when I had young children and welcomed the return to routine that came with fall. That was back when I was younger.

For the past few years, I've completely flip-flopped and summer is by far my favorite season. I love the sun and the heat. I love the long days where it's light outside from before I get up in the morning until past 10 at night.

I love being outside, even when it's hot and humid.

I love eating outside on the deck and then going for a bike ride every night after dinner, which on late work nights we can't do anymore because it's too dark.

I love the camping weekends with bonfires, four-wheeling weekends with friends, boating weekends on the lake and outdoor concert weekends that are part of summer.

As we all know, the time goes much too fast. We spend June waiting for summer. We enjoy its arrival in July, and then lament that "summer is over" in August.

Even though we get hot days in August, it's just not the same as hot July days.

Now, it's dark by 8:30 p.m. and not light again until after 6 a.m. I feel a chill in the air, even when it's humid outside. Goodies from the garden are ripe and ready to pick before fall arrives in force. If you look closely, you'll find leaves starting to turn their fall colors.

The outdoor summer concerts and festivals have ended. Summer vacation is over for schoolchildren and teachers.

The calendar says it's still summer, but really we know it is fall. Our area communities are gearing up for their fall events - Pine River Heritage Days, Crosslake Days, Nisswa Fall Festival and Smokin' Hot Barbecue Challenge. Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus schools will celebrate homecoming at the end of September. Football season has started - that definitely says "fall."

I used to look forward to trading in shorts and T-shirts for jeans and sweatshirts. I used to look forward to snow to cover the ground.

Now I dread the short, gray, cold days ahead. I don't look forward to driving on snow- and ice-covered roads. I don't like bone-chilling cold.

I'll take September, but then I'd love to be a snowbird and fly south to a warmer place for the next eight months. It's time.