Late August. The sun hastens its downward slide, and the shadows grow longer. The flower buds stand crisped on dry stalks. Here and there, children wear backpacks.
School begins next week, and the wild hurly-burly of autumn follows soon after.
Summer plans ebbed and flowed this year. We followed our own rhythms rather than highly structured travel, such as we do on even-numbered years. We watched the sky, bounced in the sea, pounded up and down the secret stairs through the woods, barbecued, made S’mores, visited an aquarium, witnessed the sunrise over the Mojave Desert, crafted, and generally took it easy.
And now, the summer holiday draws to a close. As Ralph McCloskey said in his delightful book “Time of Wonder” we feel:
“A little bit sad about the place you are leaving, a little glad about the place you are going.”
Farewell to the bleached hues, the shimmering horizons, the bulbous tomatoes, the fat corn. Farewell summer!
Recently we visited the Mission Valley Library, one of the several branch libraries in San Diego. We are so lucky to have this library system. And we use it every week, often more than once, sometimes switching branches to try them out.
But the Mission Valley one is striking.
It has these fabulous metal "trees" all throughout.
How gorgeous is that?
And there is a room upstairs that leads to an outside deck for readers!
And while it's not pictured here, outside there is a little artificial stream winding among sycamores. Just a glorious place.
We should all be using our libraries. We need to find new worlds to explore when we need a lift. We need to learn crafts to sustain us. And most importantly, we must revisit the past so that we do not repeat its mistakes.
Shadows walk the world, and libraries are a place of light.
Well hello! We’ve made it to August, or as I like to call it, “the gauntlet.” And as I’ve told you on here, it’s not my favorite time of year. And yet…look at that passionflower!
And look at these passionfruits!
And if it’s going to feel tropical in a place with a Mediterranean climate, one might as well enjoy plumeria!
So nature granted me these delights as I huffed up and down the canyon and hills here, sapped by monsoonal humidity. And there is much to look forward to this month.
For one thing, we’ve made plans to see the total eclipse! We will drive to Idaho for it. Don’t worry, you’ll hear about it here.
School starts at the end of the month, and preparations hasten for that. There’s a sense of excitement, not dread, as the weeks inch closer. While I’ll have more time in which to write, I will miss my kids. But they’ll be enjoying the routine, growing and learning and making new friends.
Meanwhile, there are beaches to dig into, late summer fruits to taste, and an astronomical event.
Maybe August isn’t so bad after all.
Sultry afternoons. The air hangs like a heavy syrup, a slow-dripping sap, from which we feel we won't escape. The long days, the heat, the humidity, all these things suspend us in the time-stretched haze we call summer.
Bluebird skies and lemony blooms draw my eyes skyward as I walk. I make my way through the honeyed atmosphere more slowly, out of necessity and also out of respect for this season. I do not adore it as so many do, and yet these moments hold me in their sway.
Arriving at a favorite overlook, I find familiar flora transformed by the heat and the light.
Turning a corner, this sight ensnared me for several minutes. The color and the light and the shade. Only summer holds sway here.
I wend my way along toward home again, and the flowers seem to smile and say, We hold winter's rain and spring's promise in every spectrum, and you are welcome here as well.