Growing up in The Midwest, we had each of the four standard seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall—and we had them in spades. Winters are cold and snowy, summers hot and humid, and spring and fall expertly straddle the extremes.

Fall was always my favorite, and each year around this time I get antsy to go back and enjoy what I remember as the highlights: brisk sunny days; trees aflame; the crunch of dried leaves under foot; the first dusting of frost.

Out here in the Northwest, though, things are different. We don’t have four seasons in Seattle, we only have two. There’s Summer, which usually begins sometime after July 4th, and is as beautiful and stunning a season as any you’ll find on this planet. And I mean that sincerely: visit Seattle in August and you’ll wonder why you live anywhere else.

Then there’s the rest of the year. This is a period of time that challenges traditional nomenclature, for we don’t really have a fall, a winter or a spring, at least not in any recognizable sense of those terms. Instead, we simply have month after month of grayness, rain, moderate cold, rain, more grayness, and more rain. Over the years I’ve lived here, I’ve come to think of this time as Not-Summer.

This second period typically begins sometime around October and lasts, with slight variations in grayness, temperature and rain, until Summer finally begins, many, many months from now.

We all have certain ways of observing the changing of the seasons. For me, I’ve come to recognize the arrival of Not-Summer with one simple tool: my space heater, a boxy white metal contraption that resembles an architect’s model of a 1960’s government housing complex. Though its primary function is to keep my apartment warm (which it has done with an uncomplaining consistency I’ve come to admire over the years), it also serves as my Punxsutawney Phil, and as of 10:03 this morning, when I plugged it in for the first time in months, it has declared Not-Summer finally here.

Of course, a skeptic might counter, as some carp about the groundhog Phil, Come on, really? You expect me to believe that summer’s over just because you plugged in your space-heater? My response to the doubters is simply: check out the weather chart below.

And so our staff at AndWhyNot? say, Goodbye, Summer, you were especially lovely this year, and we’re going to miss you tremendously.

As for Not-Summer: you’re like a visiter from out-of-town. At first, by virtue of being different, you’re exciting. But you’ll overstay you’re welcome and we’ll come to dread your very existence, and all the while we’ll be wishing: Oh Summer, please, please come back soon.