August & summer’s final fling

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016

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    It’s good that August is a long month. Otherwise, children wouldn’t have time to do all the things the month offers.

    August is a time for climbing trees, for damming streams and making wild cherry shooters. It’s a time for dipping one’s feet in the edge of farm pond and watching the bobber on a cane pole, almost hoping nothing bites and spoils the moment. It’s a time to go swimming in the creek before the water begins to cool.

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    And for adults, August is a time to enjoy the garden’s bounty, the final flurry of tomatoes and peppers before the vines succumb to old age and shorter days.

    Frankly, I don’t know if children today distinguish August from July or July from June, because they are not as tied to the seasons’ rhythm was were we, but the three summer months are indeed distinctive, each with its own characteristics.


    In my memory at least, June was a month of growth. The pastel greens of spring were rapidly turning to the richer shades of summer and everything —most particularly the weeds and grass in a peanut or corn row — was growing. And everything demanded attention. A busy month, June, but the warming soil and still-cool nights provided an abundance of opportunity for fun — and mischief.

    July was the midway point. Days grew shorter, but not noticeably at first. Summer vacation seemed to stretch far ahead, so there was no rush to enjoy each day. There would be plenty of them ahead. And besides, there was still work to be done — plenty of it — and the month was hot and muggy anyway.

    But then came August. Still hot, still muggy, but days shortening and a hint — just a hint — of occasional cooler temperatures. It was then that panic set in. Within a few weeks, school bells would ring and the endless days of summer vacation would be replaced by the regimented call of books and studies, of school activities and all that comes with fall. There were trips to the store, preparations for school — a new pair of shoes if we were in the midst of a growth spurt, and almost certainly new dungarees. Summer really was ending.

    So, enjoy August. Absorb this end of summer for all it offers. Wet a fishing line, or at least your toes. Go for a stroll and watch the goldenrod begin to bloom. And spend some time with the children or grandchildren before they begin their next busy cycle of growing up. That will come all too soon.