Monday, September 2, 2013

Where has summer gone?

     My heart beats a melancholy song when Labor Day sneaks up on the calendar. I want to hang on to summer a wee bit longer like the youngster at the neighborhood pool squeezing out the last drop of freedom before returning to school.     
     Oh, before summer ends I want just one last time of…(You fill in the blank.)
     And of course, the familiar comment, “Where has summer gone?” is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
     It’s amazing how time flies in one season and not another. When the tomato crop is squeezing you into canning it as fast as you are able to muster your strength and your kitchen crew, you believe the last hurrah will be delicious sauce and salsa throughout the winter.
     Perhaps, like me you get frantic in late August trying to jam in everything that you didn’t do earlier in the summer. I shouldn’t try and fool myself. There are not enough hours left to make a dent.
     It’s normal to be exchanging beach towels and campfires for more structured time at school or work. As I dig deeper into September and October’s bounty of pumpkins, grapes and potatoes, seasonal rituals will take hold of me once again.
     I start the summer months with all sorts of exciting plans. I am going to…(Again, you fill in the blank.)
     Like every other season, the best-laid plans don’t work. Often I want to connect with one or two people from other parts of the country. We play phone tag going back and forth with dates to no avail. Then again, I promise myself that the garden will be weeded faithfully at all costs, and be a pristine showplace turning heads from those passing by. I want to drive off to find the farmer’s market everyone is talking about, and read that stack of books collecting dead flies by my bedside.                                                     
     What usually happens, though, and often the more meaningful, is the spontaneous occurrence. The simple Monday morning phone call from someone to go off picking blueberries, or an invitation for a last minute road trip is what keeps my days packed. On occasion it is the neighbor in need that takes over my thoughts and actions for a bit of time. They become a top priority and other activities are put on hold. That’s what makes me right with the world, though.
     Flipping back through the calendar pages to June, I realize just how much did happen over the summer, and that calls for a celebration. How easily I forget the wonderful sunsets, the restaurant discovery tucked away over a hill or two and the perfect way to grill avocados.
      However, I am realistic. Changes are in the air and fall will be inching into my life one-baby step at a time. Already a few colorful leaves have dropped in very conspicuous places hinting for me to take notice that summer is wrapping up.
     Folks who appreciate the cooler temperatures remark how much more that they get done during a day when they are not put down with the heat. With the rise of their activity level, comes more satisfaction.
     A long-sleeved shirt is my clothing of choice early in the morning. Those dependable tank tops will be departing for their winter's hibernation at the bottom of the pile. They had plenty of wear over the hot summer and deserve a decent rest.
     I expect to be hearing the seasonal comment from the local ski crowd about how they target August for pulling out their equipment in anticipation of the white stuff that will come sooner than later. And the neighbors who worry if the first snowflake will descend before they are prepared to snow bird off to Florida keep me waving good-bye as I walk on down the road loving the cooler temperatures.
     Having been on the school timetable, I automatically sense a chance for a new start, and although I no longer buy back to school clothes and spiral notebooks, it is practical to purchase computer printer cartridges for the writing set out for me.
      My mother claimed that she disliked fall more than anytime because school would start and she would be home alone again. Today on the other hand, I hear young parents sighing in relief when the family returns to a regular routine with homework and soccer games mixing and matching with quick dinners and finger food snacks at the field.
     The bulb catalogs are on my coffee table, and I am making some thoughtful decisions before placing my order. It will be arriving in a few weeks. There will be comfortable Indian summer days for planting time, and the garden will be chock full of new daffodils, hyacinths and tulips snoozing away until arising in the springtime.     
      I am a four-season type of person, and I have my being in the cycles of nature around me. Each new season is the way I keep my life glued together sensibly. Where I choose to live my life and for what purpose is less important than the attitude I have on a daily basis about the meaning of my existence. Getting the optimum out of life is a thought process more than a physical one.
     Fall is tuning up, and I don’t want to miss the orchestrated canvas of color that will be splashing magnificently in harmony with the earth.
     Thus I say, “farewell to summer. You’ve been grand.”