I woke early this morning, anxious from a dream I which I was signing
a yearbook. In swirly, precise fountainpen script, it said: “May there
be endless cups of coffee, and leisurely time to sip them.” Strange.
Alas, I think it was the rain that woke me from those thoughts. It
felt symbolic to me, like the sky was weeping to mark the end of a
glorious summer. Though it was way too humid most days—and I did my
fair share of complaining—we were treated to a multitude of beautiful
keepsake days these past few months. Summer as it should be, even if
our lawn could have used more of a dousing. And now it is over. Sadly,
I am one of those people who can only focus on the end, blinded to the
possibilities of a beginning. I hear that door slamming, but am
utterly oblivious to the delicious breeze let in by the open window.
It’s hard for me to let go, to let the unadulterated freedom of the
summer slip through my fingers. In summer there is no ugly yellow bus
imposing a daily deadline, or the loud gong of 3 o’clock opening up
the floodgates to let the hoards of children into the Library. I’m
just not ready. I want it still to be summer. I feel like a petulant
child who whines constantly and makes demands for something she knows
she cannot have. I wish for stolen moments in bed with the sun
streaming in through the window as it lights your loved one all aglow.
I have recently observed that magical light and each morning wanted to
bottle it up and save it for when I need it most.
One of my favorite quotes reads: ‘In the depth of winter I finally
learned that there was in me an invincible summer.’ I feel like Camus’
words give meaning to these last weeks. I have been subconsciously
readying myself. At the same time, we accomplished everything on our
Summer List. Not but checking things off and worrying about when to
cram it all in, but rather just by going about our days and enjoying
them. The only item we haven’t yet attempted, is making the popsicles.
We cleaned out our freezer, and bid adieu to the countless bags of
hash browns to make room for some scrumptious People’s Pops. In a few
short days we will be experiencing some cranberry apple bliss.
Summer allows you time for freezer cleaning, weeknight sleepovers and
towel sitting. Time to sit outside with a book in hand and let the
world slip away. There is time to think about anything that comes to
mind. Time to see if you are ready to take a leap, make a plunge,
contemplate all of the scenarios and where you fit in. Over and over,
a steady parade of scenes of your own making march through your head.
And because the sun is shining, these all tend to have the best
possible outcomes—a happily ever after in which you are the hero.
Fall is not just about the contemplation, fall is for doing. Fall is
about taking action. Somewhere in our brains, we know winter can’t be
far behind, so we need to start gathering. Taking a mental break
during the warmer months means we can come back with a fresh face, and
a good attitude. Welcoming the rigid structure of our days, while
fortifying ourselves for the future. At least that’s what I tell
And to a certain extent those sentiments are a truth. It’s not like I
was lounging on a beach the whole summer or even away from my work,
but T was home from school. I enjoyed that break with him, even
somewhat vicariously. Now there is homework, and play practice and a
multitude of other tasks that will steal our time from us. But there
will also be time for wearing scarves, eating soup and drinking tea.
Somehow tea seems a more fitting drink for considering all the ways I
can be daring. I don’t see myself wanting to change the universe one
step at a time with a lemonade in my hand. (Even if it was handpressed
and made with ginger syrup in my own kitchen.) Fall to me is crunching
leaves, sipping cider, carving pumpkins and enjoying the cooler
mornings. Of all the things about summer, it is the light I will miss
the most. But there are memories, and new stories to tell of recent
adventures and pictures to remind us of everything.
Now there are new trips to plan, and our yearly journey to the ocean.
It is there that I will remember that that invincible summer is still
inside me. Yet it is writing that keeps me going, that helps me
acknowledge the finite ending of a thing that can never be recovered
or experienced again. In trying to get back to sleep this morning I
took comfort in Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.” This is
what I found: ‘I write because to form a word with your lips and
tongue, to think a thing and then dare to write it down so you can
never take it back is the most powerful thing I know.” Fall may be
about ritual, for some remembrance. May be too it stands for
revolution, albeit a quiet one. I like to think that I am ready; armed
with my pen, my paper and teacup in hand.