Why it seems like just yesterday when I framed the beginning of this delightful season with my posted story “Yield to Summer” and now the calendar is telling me that I have to say good-bye to summer!
Yes, I am dragging my feet, especially at 5:40 in the morning when the once vacationing alarm clock, now jolts me from my restful sleep with its annoying buzzer. I no longer have the luxury of waiting for my eyes to naturally open.
Yes, I am sad to see Mother Nature pulling the shade down on the day a little bit earlier each night as we spiral down towards the shortest day of the year. I feel the tug of this vertical motion.
A strict routine has reappeared, and there is less room for spontaneity. Bells and schedules must be followed. Newly assigned students filed into my classroom last week and I handed out crisp, untouched workbooks as we began to reacquaint ourselves with long-forgotten Spanish vocabulary words. The divider also goes back into my brain. Teacher/Writer. These two roles must re-learn to live together for the next ten months. One side must not bully the other and demand more attention. That supply is finite and they must share my energy equally.
For me the conclusion of summer is both an ending and a beginning.
My outdoor life surrenders its grip. Bathing suits and short sleeved dresses and shirts are cleaned and put away for another year. Suntan lotion, bug spray, and flip-flops go back into the hall closet in the straw beach tote where they quietly wait for another season.
Meanwhile, the fallen acorns are gathering at the end of our driveway. Frisky gray squirrels snatch them up and bury them where I wish they would not. Dirt flies out of my potted plants onto the deck as these busy critters look for a safe hiding place for a winter snack. My crock-pot comes out from the bottom of the cabinet and makes its presence known on the countertop as it simmers with warm soups and stews. Outdoor grilling gives way to indoor cooking.
Goodbye evenings on the deck listening to the cicadas and watching the moon rise! Goodbye to summer trips to fun places!
Hello warm sweaters and hot tea with lemon on the couch after a long school day! Hello early bedtimes and long evenings snuggling in flannel sheets.
One phase ends and another begins.
Today, September 3rd would mark the 35th wedding anniversary with my children’s father, David. The tiny Methodist church in Ames New York was the site of our beginning. Although we did not get to spend the 3 and 1/2 decades together, a piece of my heart still keeps track.
Our son Richard proposed to his lovely girlfriend Toni today. He said that he was generally aware of our wedding date, but I don’t think that he realized today’s significance when he picked his special day to start on his life journey with his loving partner. For me, life is very circular and there really are no surprises. I believe that there must have been one of those special “whispers” in his heart guiding him to this day. The circle of love just continues. Today will forever represent a joyful beginning for Rick and Toni, just like it was for me and his father.
I would like to say goodbye to this summer season with the beautiful poem “Summer” written by my father’s cousin. Her loving husband David gave me permission to use it today and I can’t think of a better way to remember a beautiful season and a lovely lady at the same time.
The crisp tick tock of Time’s
contract read with efficiency
by the hall clock seems to slow
in mid-July, heavy with humidity,
becalmed like the drifting geese,
more water now than air.
We all have our migrations through
the sleeve of Time, reknitting it
year by year with a different stitch.
For sixty-five years I have returned
to this lake, to this cottage I helped
build as a child, watching it rise
from a level piece of string, now,
the black hole at the center of my
journey, the liquid balance, the ageless
drift, where my wings rest on an eternal
breast; this Summer I can never leave.
(Gail Burgess Nochimson 11/15/37- 7/10/11)
It’s the “unofficial” end of summer but it sure feels “official”.