It all happens in the blink of an eye: the chill in the air, the early departure of the sun, the abundance of gourd-flavored beer. Yes, there’s no denying it. Fall is here, and the time to say goodbye to summer has finally come.

So, goodbye summer! Goodbye to your summer salads of fresh strawberries and herbs. Goodbye to tanning under your hot sun in tangy salt-filled air. Goodbye to cooling off with a quick dip, wading too far out, getting swept to sea, and awaking on a pirate ship where Leon Higgens, Captain of the Bone Rattler, informs you that you’re now part of his crew, lest you decide to walk the plank into eternity.

Goodbye bike rides down streets aglow with the sunset’s final rays, goodbye “musicians” playing acoustic guitar at the patios of local coffee shops, goodbye Tom, the drunk boatswain, teaching you sea shanties while you suck lemons to ward off scurvy.

Goodbye mornings spent walking across dew grazed grass, goodbye afternoons licking ice cream cones that rapidly melt onto sweet, sticky fingers, goodbye nights in the keel with Captain Leon Higgens as he teaches you the correct way to mop; the staff grasped shakily between his stub arm and peg leg, so when a wave rocks the boat he has to grab your hand with his cold steel hook to stay steady, all the while looking into your eyes and then looking away before mumbling something about how a pirate’s only love can be the sea, though you’ve seen the way he looks at you, and the way he looks at the sea, and you know they’re one and the same

Goodbye pop-up carnivals, goodbye watching fireworks under starry skies unmarred by the tortured sobs of captured sailors, goodbye slip-n-slides.

Goodbye sleeveless muscle tees, and prickly pear margaritas, and pretending to need another lemon from the hull, but really following Captain Leon Higgens as he heads for his bed champers.

Goodbye to sidewalk chalk murals, goodbye to iced tea, goodbye to catching Captain Leon Higgen’s one eye as you pillage a ship and shove the bodies of innocent men into canons, so all that remains when you light the fuse is a pile of ash at the bottom of the sea, and the approval of your captain.

Goodbye picnics in the park. Goodbye bonfires not made of other ships and the men who worked them. Goodbye lying beside Captain Leon Higgens (though he’s just Leon at this point) as he traces the coordinates of buried treasure onto your naked body, promising he’ll never let gold come between the two of you, the way he has with everyone else in his life.

Goodbye summer flowers. Goodbye summer storms. Goodbye to finding an extra store of lemons in the hull and sharing them with Leon, thinking that perhaps this happiness can last more than a season.

But all good Summer things must come to an end. It’s why tulips close their lips forever as the season winds down. It’s why running through sprinkles loses its magic. It’s why Leon says he’s taking you somewhere tropical, and then leaves you stranded on a desert island with nothing but a bottle of rum and a flare, because it can only ever be a pirate's life for him, don’t you understand? You’re nothing but a distraction and he should never have fished you from the ocean in the first place!

So, goodbye summer, once and for all.

Until next year.