The horses are in the home stretch with the school-imposed end of summer approaching, Labor Day weekend, a weekend I look forward to all summer long for love of Fall. It is not a good way to think– the way I do. Religious leaders preach living in the present. This very moment in time is all we have. Literally. I have yet to overcome my hyperactive mind and many bad ways of thinking. And this year for some reason I am feeling melancholic about the summer ending. Perhaps it is because I am sick with a fever and not sure where the hazy heat of the sun ends and the lazy heat of the fever begins. Perhaps it is because it is a perfect day. A breeze whispers through what I call (in my ignorance of its real name) the “penny tree.” When the wind blows, the pale green leaves look like so many pennies shimmering down from Heaven. The sun is so hot it tingles on the skin– yet it is not the strong sun of July that burns quickly. It is a far gentler sun. The angle of its diurnal slant is different. Summer is definitely slipping away.
The bees, wasps and yellow jackets are having a heyday in the Goldenrod, Joe Pye Weed and Purple Loosestrife. The marsh is thick with flying insects. My eyes capture swallow-tails. Happily the monarchs are still here. A turkey vulture circles overhead. He must have spotted death nearby. Earlier I saw two golden hawks fly, sunlit, into the back field. A wisp of a cloud floats by in an otherwise perfectly blue sky. This summer has flown by in the blink of an eye like a fritillary flits by the flowers in the marsh.
The smell of fresh-cut lawn is intoxicating to my raw senses. Soon the grass will cease to grow and the lush green will look washed out. All of its inhabitants in the metropolis beneath our feet will dig deep underground or turn off their bodily systems to “overwinter”– an amazing concept to a mammal. Some fill their bodies with a type of antifreeze. Nature never ceases to astound. This summer I have made my peace with the insects. Terrified of them as a child, I have come to love and respect them, indeed hold them in great awe for the feats they accomplish. Our accomplishments pale as humans, supposedly so superior.
No longer do I see turtles sunning on rocks, nor snakes coming out to bask in the heat of the road. Some species of birds have already left– unbeknownst to me. I just know that some I used to see are gone. The sweet bird song of the spring mating season is a fleeting memory. One lone humming-bird flies around the marsh intermittently, causing great excitement in the viewing audience.
It is the time to dead head the flowers of summer. It is the time of Black-Eyed Susans and Peonies and Sedum. And soon it will be the time of the Mums.
With each gust of wind yellow finger-like walnut leaves shower down on our heads– like large, oddly-shaped, yellow snowflakes– a foretaste of snowfalls to come. The sun’s shadows grow long as twilight nears. Soon the white cloud “lions and tigers and bears” will retire into the black cave of night. And the summer will die, and in dying, give birth to fall. The comfortable rhythm of the changing season beats in our sometimes unhearing hearts.
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