Shorter Becomes The Days

Signs are appearing all around. Flipped to August, the calendar displays the last full month of Summer. Just a few very short months ago,  an infectious feeling had fallen upon us, causing a belief that an endless summer had just begun. Wasn't it just last week we planted flowers for Memorial Day? When did Labor Day get moved so close to the 4th of July? 

While occasionally enjoying the air of a late summer’s evening, we wonder, how has another season so quickly slipped by. Pondering this question, we reflect that Mayflies have had their moment. June bugs, gone. Through it all, fireflies silently flit about looking for a mate, signaling their presence with quick, soft glows. With the arrival of August, they glow to a choir of chirping crickets.

It has been well over a month since the longest day shown down upon us. Subtle changes from shorter days are very visible. Mounted above my garage doors, a night light now comes on long before 9:00 pm. Still, that is better when in the dead of winter I leave for work in darkness and return in the same. Car and house lights begin burning sooner. While street lights flicker to life long before bed. Back to school ads seem to be everywhere, making kids very unhappy and parents overjoyed. Public pools soon will be drained. Families rush to get one last vacation in before school resumes.

Extended weather forecasts seem to be getting ever so slightly cooler. Sure, there will still be a hot day or two, but nowhere near when eggs could be fried in July’s relentless heat on a concrete sidewalk griddle. In late summer, thunderstorms still pass, but rainy days last longer, clouds do hang lower.

Greenhouses shelves have grown bare with season ending sales. Summer flowers are fading while fall blooms have started bring forth vivid new colors that only an Autumn sun will properly illuminate. Seeds of March and April are ripping. Summer crops will be harvested shortly before autumn’s first warning frost. Soon beneath winter’s ice these fields will rest once more. In apple orchards, on muddy trails, old tractors with dirty chipped red paint begin hauling trailers filled with apples freshly picked. Pies will be baked, cider will flow and apple butter jars become filled and sealed.

Next up, September. Ah yes, September, a month with two main distinctions. The Autumnal Equinox occurs and it is the first of the four year ending “ber” months. Named so because they are cold months and we began saying “brrrrrrr” once more.

Deep into night and late in August, I lay in bed listening to the songs of the night floating though my open windows. Tonight's arrangement features some lovely cricket and cicada’s timeless songs while gently a rain dances across the stage. This night space becomes filled with harmonizing sounds. An occasional dog barks as somebody walks by its land. A cat curls up at the bed’s foot, laying still and quiet. Only raising it’s head a bit when that lone dog barks. All is music to me, night music. These sweet sounds of the night gently rock me to sleep. This is the time of the year I wait for, long for and remember the most. Soon windows be closed, air conditioners removed and cold air locked out. These nights grow fewer with each shining moon. My dreams now fill of summer’s past and summer’s to pass.

Doug Thornhill (dct)