The end of summer can only mean on thing for some PWD.

Well, it’s that time of year again. Kids and adults are returning to school and, for some, back to work. The days are getting shorter and cooler at night. Yup! summer’s almost over, at least according to the calendar. With all the crazy weather events we’ve experienced lately, perhaps we’ll still be wearing shorts in November.

Fall is a beautiful season. I enjoy seeing the leaves change. I’ve never been to Gatineau Park, which is amazing. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go this year.

Along with the leaves changing colours, there’s also Halloween, which I love. Even if I don’t attend parties, I really enjoy watching horror movies. Some of the newer ones aren’t bad, but I do prefer the older ones.

There is a downside, though.

For me, the sad part of fall is the colder temperatures, and we all know what happens when it becomes really cold outside. I’m not saying the word. Too early for that.

Seriously though, due to my physical disability, and poor circulation, I get cold very quickly. When I get too cold, my muscles tend to freeze up, which can be dangerous depending on where I am. I always do my very best to know my surroundings and what buildings are around for me to use as a place to warm up if I need to.

Let me just say that since I use a wheelchair, finding a warm building that’s accessible is often very difficult.

The other thing is that I’m unable to wear a jacket or gloves. If I wore a coat or gloves, I would be physically unable to drive my chair. The controls for my chair require skin contact with the buttons that make my chair move.

For years, I’ve tried various adaptive jackets, but none worked. I’ve also tried hand-warmers, mittens without fingers, heated blankets, and all kinds of heated outerwear. The best thing has been a long scarf that goes down my chest and over my hands.

As for my lower half, I wear slip-on boots, which also work well. Well, it’s not ideal winter wear; I’m at least able to quickly get into a Para Transpo vehicle and into a building.

If the ground isn’t full of, well, y’know, that icy stuff.

During the summer months, I have a much easier time getting out and about. I rarely use Para Transpo, which means I just go out without needing to plan a day or two ahead of time.

I feel like an independent, sociable, and more productive adult during the summer months. Even after all these years, I have a tough time letting go of it as we get closer to winter.

To be fair, it’s not all doom and gloom, though.

With proper planning and wearing 400 layers of clothes, I still manage to get outside, even if it’s to the mall and I have friends drop by.

Again, that all depends on how clean the streets, sidewalks, and bus stops are. If you’ve been following me through the winter months, I’m sure you know how bad winter can be for PWD to get around.

There have been several times when I’ve been stuck home for days following a winter storm. There have also been times when I had an easy time leaving my place, but the area I was going to hadn’t been plowed yet.

Perhaps, I’m looking too far ahead.

However, I’ve lived in Ottawa as a PWD for over 47 years. I know how it is. Each year, I, along with thousands of PWD and seniors, struggle to leave their homes all because the city of Ottawa can’t keep up with winter conditions.

And THIS is why I get sad and depressed as winter approaches. Yes, even though it’s barely September, I’m already thinking about winter's cold, dark months.

I really hope that clean-up is better this year or that Mother Nature will be kinder to us.

Let’s wrap things up on a more positive note.

Welcome back to those returning to school and work this week. I hope all goes well and you stay safe and healthy. The same goes for everyone else as well.