(Photo credit: T.Leodari): The cicadas outside my window are planing down the season. Shavings of summer days curl on the wood shop floor. Insects whine like a saw through heartwood, with a drone that lingers at the edge of consciousness but grows persistent as August advances.
The first sugar maple leaves are starting to turn at the tips of ailing trees, a visual jolt in all this heavy green. The fields now sport goldenrod and asters and the fireflies have ceased their dance. The summer cannot last more than a few weeks now, declines even as it ripens, and each remaining day of bright sun and blue water is precious to a weary heart.
What we have done and left undone becomes all too apparent as the summer wanes. The garden got away from me in thick and heavy air too oppressive to bother to weed and mow. There are many green tomatoes but few green leaves on the vines, and it will be a race to see whether the harvest reaches its potential before the plants themselves wither. The lettuce has bolted, the crabgrass overwhelmed the flower beds. There were other priorities, but still my inner gardener disapproves of my stewardship.
On the other hand, I have managed to accomplish a number of core summer activities that are even more sustaining than the fruit of my garden. I took my children to Monhegan Island. I had steamers and lobster in Maine, and baked stuffed quahogs harvested right off the beach at Windrock. I made a cherry pie, and had steamed crabs in Delaware. I picked raspberries. I saw whales. I attended a Revolutionary War Reenactment and joined the 1st New Jersey Continentals. I made mussels marinara and ate fried clams. I went for a sail on Buzzard's Bay. I saw the future and it smiled.
This weekend I will drive to Windrock once more with my children and join 40 relatives for a week by the sea. I will catch and cook 300 quahogs. I will make pesto with my garden basil. I will make peach pies and roast sweet corn. Maybe we will find a box turtle, and make drip castles, and fly kites. Maybe I will get a chance to sit and read. Maybe, maybe, I will rest at ease.
Summer is no less vital when its days are numbered. What is vital for me is to be present, and aware, and not to mourn the endings. Turning points are like tides, flooding in at the river mouth, standing waves against the flow. Something must give, if not now, then soon, and when it does something else can take its place. As a dear friend reminded me, sometimes when you embrace a change it hugs you back. As with life, then, so with me.