You are a signal. A nudge.
A harbinger of urgency.
You beckon, Quick! Before it all slips away!
You arrive, and suddenly, the days that drip with sunshine are numbered.
And yet, summer's pull, that enticement that urges me to languish in time as the days lengthen, warm, and swell with a certain nectar of loveliness--seems to become more and more elusive as the years wax on. I am lost in my work, keen to fulfill my duties, programmed to stay on task.
And yet, I do feel the draw, the compulsion to heed August's warning. For in it, she reminds me:
...that summer used to mean wiling away the hours climbing the stories-tall pine tree at the side of the house, searching for the end of the world at the top of the branches, being mindful of the pine sap in every step, challenging myself to go two, maybe three branches farther than I did the day before, until my mama calls me in for tuna fish sandwiches, some cold grapes, potato chips, and graham crackers filled with vanilla frosting--chocolate if I'm really lucky.
...that summer used to mean long, hot days at the neighborhood pool. Diving for stuff. Playing trolls. Daring each other to jump off the high dive. Sharing a Dreamsicle afterwards. Eating it in the viewing stands up top, everything echoing, the noisy pool sounds warbling in our plugged-up ears, distorted and clangy. Halos around everything we look at with our itchy burning bloodshot red eyes, thinking, goggles are for sissies.
...that summer used to mean staying up late watching Johnny Carson with my dad. Popping popcorn and adding too much butter but just enough salt. Making Kool-Aid. Opening the windows wide in the hopes of a breeze. In the discernible background, the creek rushes by, there is a symphony of crickets, and big bugs crash against the front French windows in search of light. There is also laughter, and the knowledge that love is more true here than in extraordinary events.
...that summer used to mean campfires and marshmallows, book-reading marathons, and amusement park rides.
...band camps and drive-ins and night games with friends.
And even now, as the Dog Day's moon makes her way back to full, and those carefree days seem ever longer ago, I make August's list in an effort to capture a hint of that young, fun-loving girl:
- Pick blueberries until my fingers are purple
- Bake a pie, a buckle, and a crisp
- Visit the ocean, at least one more time
- Explore Boston for a day, or maybe even a weekend
- Read two more books
- Eat more lobster
- Pay my respects to Robert Frost
- Eat fresh basil and ripe, home-grown tomatoes until they're growing out of my ears
Perhaps the activities have changed over the years, and perhaps I often feel too busy to truly savor the magic that is summer, but August is calling me, and I best not keep her waiting.
How 'bout you? What are your must-do's this August, and what did summer used to mean to you?