The Saddest Day of the Year


I covered the pool on Sunday, which is always a somber occasion. This episode was particularly weird, because the temps were in the mid-eighties, the humidity was high, and I was sweating profusely.

When to cover the pool is always a tricky proposition, because there are years where you could easily enjoy the water in mid to late September. Yesterday was such a day, in fact, but the reality is it was a hectic day and nobody had time for a leisurly swim. The other reality is we get far less daylight than we did even a month ago, and the evening temps will soon dip into the fifties, all of which will conspire to drop the water temperature precipitously.

There have been occasions where I’ve waited until late September or early October before completing this task. But after I froze my cojones by immersing myself into mid-sixty degree water to help remove the ladder many years ago, I vowed never to repeat that fool’s errand. It was not a pleasant experience, and I have since erred on the side of closing it too soon instead of too late, to avoid repeating it.

We call it the saddest day of the year because it represents summer’s symbolic end, and the beginning of the inexorable march to winter. The best time of the year is coming to a close, and the worst one is on its way. Plus, the pool is depressing to look at when the cover is on. During the spring and summer, looking at the sparkling blue water and colorful pool liner leaves you with a good feeling. All we have to look forward to now is the drab cover that will soon have rain and rotting leaves floating on its surface.

What makes this year’s closure particularly sad is the fact that this may be the last time we enjoy the pool. Normally, when the pool is closed you know it will eventually be reopened, and you take solace in that reality. The difference this year is that there are no gurantees that will happen next year.

We should be breaking ground on the new house soon, and if things go well, we will be living there, our current homestead will be sold, and the pool will become someone else’s property before the real heat of next summer hits. A pool at the new place will not be a priority. We certainly won’t consider it in year one, and the truth is we may never install another one.

That thought brings a bittwesweet nostalgia, because that is not only the house that Shodan grew up in, but he lived in that pool for a long time after we bought it. Conversely, so did I, and we both had a of fun in those ten thousand gallons of water over a long period of time.

Even though Shodan doesn’t go in the pool much now unless his little cousins or other company visits, not seeing that sparkling blue pool every day will represent a lost chapter of our lives. The new chapter that awaits means he has grown into a fine young adult whose journey is just starting. It represents a new chapter for me too, but my journey has a lot of uncertainties and is also a lot closer to the final chapter of my story than it was when we installed the pool.

I’m not planning on moving again unless it is in a hearse, and I will be visiting a new decade when my birthday arrives in March, so not only am I feeling my mortality. I’m also feeling a tsunami of sentimentality at the passing of such an innocent period of time.

So the saddest day of the year was more melancholy than most. Change is coming, which is not always a bad thing. But when you open the door to change, another door closes as you walk through it. Memories of birthday parties, and Santa Clause, and frog ponds, butterfly bushes, and that pool will be all that remain when that door clicks shut.

It’s part of life, I know, but in covering the pool, we also wrapped that part of our lives in a burial shroud. I’ve never given that much thought because I try not to waste energy and emotion dwelling on stuff that hasn’t happend yet. But putting the pool to bed for the winter was more than symbolic. For me, it made everything we are planning feel very real for the first time.

The sense of loss is palpable and lingers, but I know that will fade once we start seeing the new homestead rise from the ground and feel the anticipation of something new. For now, there is nothing new, we haven’t broken ground, and a large part of our life is under cover, perhaps permanentaly.

It’s a sobering feeling.



Author: Steve Markesich

I am loving husband, a doting father, a Red Sox fanatic, an aspiring novelist and MS advocate. Feel free to check out my web site.

30 thoughts on “The Saddest Day of the Year”

  1. First of all, best wishes on the new construction, Steve; that’s always an exciting (and harrowing) time. I truly hope you don’t uncover the old pool again, despite the sentimentality of it, because that means the new era has already begun. We know how these things can be delayed.

    Personally, I haven’t looked forward to a winter this much in years. We need the rains to help with the fires and to clean the air of smoke and the streets of ash. As many a customer of mine has said, “I will never complain about the rain again.”

    Til next time, eh? 😉

    Good write up, and best wishes going forth!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your beautiful and beloved pool will be waiting along with you for the signs of spring. As I get older the time seems to fly by so much more quickly and spring will be here again “soonish”……….and at least there is the beautiful fall to enjoy before the dreaded winter……….my absolute least favorite season.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, the joy of building a new home. Just keep an eye on it. I remember the last house we built in Houston. Rolled into the site to see weird colored brick all around it, ready to be used. Luckily we caught the mistake before it was too late. It is a hassle, but definitely worth it in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post Steve.
    You brought me back to my youth when I felt the same melancholy when my dad closed the pool. It is very symbolic and you expressed it so well.
    I hope the next leg of your journey is so blissful that you never look back but instead enjoy it for many healthy years

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sobering?…That’s a terrible word!… Just kidding. I’m glad you wrote this piece, I’m glad you took the time to feel the emotions. It is nostalgic! Giving yourself time to “grieve” these changes will make it easier to welcome the new ones that are coming. When I left my pool 5 years ago, I never knew how much I would miss it. Try to make room

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just look at it like a new beginning,I moved four years ago from the first house we both and that has seen the birth of both my kids and two of my dogs but I love my new house nonetheless 💁🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think change is so difficult and frustrating, but I guess we all make it through the best we can! Just think, we will have the lovely fall weather for a few months, then the nasty cold winter, but spring time will be here so soon. I really do feel that the seasons go by faster the older I get, but maybe that is just my crazy anxious mind!!

    Liked by 1 person

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