In the waning days of August, there’s a slight change in the weather. There’s a hint of autumn in the breeze, brushing my cheeks as I walk to the garden. It’s cooler today than it has been for a couple of weeks and I’m glad of the long sleeves on my sweatshirt. The smoke from the wildfires in British Columbia and central Washington that made my nose run and my eyes itch has cleared, thanks to a shift in the wind bringing a marine layer in the mornings and beautiful, deep blue skies in the afternoons.
Even so, the dry, hot weather of a couple of weeks ago, seems to have convinced the trees that it’s almost fall. The locust has been dropping golden leaves on the grass for about a week. Now, one of the oaks across the fence has joined it and the backyard looks like October. I hear the rustle of the leaves on the poplars, and it sounds more like the susurration of the surf than the wind in the trees. The grass on the big lawn is turning golden, as we try to save money on water.
Kids are outfitting backpacks, and breaking in new shoes. Throughout the South the first day of school has already happened.
At the farmer’s market, there’s still corn on the cob, and wonderful, vine-ripened heritage tomatoes. The peaches and apricots are at their peak, and my mouth waters at the smell. The cherries, bright red and golden, lure me to taste their tart-sweet goodness. It won’t be long before the new crop of apples and pears make their appearance.
I hear the chip, chip, chip of the sparrow, remarking that the birdfeeder is empty – oh, and by the way, there’s not enough water in the birdbath for a decent drink, much less, a real dive-in-and-splash bath. It seems like only yesterday that I was able to follow the sounds of the gentleman sparrows as they called for their mates before nesting season – “See, see, pretty, pretty me.” I trust they will be back next spring.
The dying of the summer brings with it nostalgia and a sense of loss. But we still have a few days to play in the sun, and travel, and enjoy ourselves before our world contracts into indoor activities of the winter.