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Erik Burgess, Published August 11 2013

Ensuing end of summer is bittersweet for some

FARGO – Standing atop the metal tower, shepherding soaking-wet children down the waterslide, Kayla Gross is at the top of the world.

“It’s a fun job. I love it,” Gross said of her lifeguard job at the Northside Recreation Pool. “You get a tan. You get to watch people have fun.”

But even as she corrals slippery children, Gross knows that all good slides eventually come to an end.

While Fargo park officials were able to retain enough lifeguards to keep Island Park Pool and the Davies Recreational Pool open until next Sunday – a week longer than normal – Sunday was the final day the Northside Pool was open this year.

Gross said it’s the bittersweet beginning of the end. Soon she’ll be returning to school at Minnesota State University Moorhead and leaving the poolside for another eventual North Dakota winter.

“It’s good to be done. It kind of gets old sitting out here after a while, and yet it’s fun and I’m going to miss it,” she said. “I’m going to miss making friends with the lifeguards and the kids.”

For many, summer’s demise becomes more apparent when the pools close, evening winds begin to cool down and, of course, school starts back up.

Out for a run near Island Park on Sunday, Sam Rearich said summer doesn’t really end for her until the leaves change, but she said she has noticed the recent chilling of the breeze.

As the leaves turn, Rearich said, she’d likely trade her bright pink running tank for something more autumn-appropriate, perhaps an earth-tone jacket. She’ll also be doing more running indoors on a treadmill.

“After a day like today, I think there’s still hope that there’s a couple more weeks of summer,” she said on Saturday.

She ran a half marathon at the Fargo Marathon earlier this year and plans on running in the Go Far Woman run on Aug. 24.

“I try to still run outside in the fall and on days when I know I won’t freeze to death,” she said.

For Elise Derby, the end of summer is when school starts, even though she’s no longer in school herself.

“Even when I was little, that always signified the end of summer,” she said.

Now a mother of two young children, the 28-year-old interior designer said the ringing of the school bells still rings in the fall for her.

“I feel like we had such a short summer this year. I don’t like it,” she said. “But I guess that’s the downfall of being in North Dakota, right?”

There are some sunshine warriors who aren’t ready to give up on nice weather.

Basking in the warmth on Saturday afternoon on the banks of the Red River near Dike East, Tracy Farmer read from a new book, took an accidental nap in the warm sun and ended up sleeping through the farmers market she had intended to visit.

That, she said, is what summer is all about.

“You get sunshine like this, and it can be summertime clear until October as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

“This is not the end of summer,” she added emphatically.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518