There is a bittersweet feeling when it comes to Labor Day. Summer as we know it is all but gone. In fact, I feel I missed most of summer. My husband and I were too busy with “projects” and missed most of the activities of summer that we enjoy.
But maybe it is more.
The grandness of summer is mostly held in memories of my youth. Picnics and countless cookouts, trips to the Jersey Shore, playing badminton till we couldn’t see the birdie anymore, riding bikes, swimming in the little pool in the backyard, catching lightning bugs, making tents and sleeping outside, listening to the crickets, feeling the gentle breezes of the warm summer air through the screens, and the smells of summer rains, going to the library, and the list goes on. These are the summers I still hold in precious memory. These are the summers I seem to look forward to in my mind and miss year after year.
As a youth Labor Day meant school was around the corner with new clothes and classes. This of course meant the holidays were soon to follow. A great feeling of exciting energy and bustle of people. As a youth I wore out summer and looked forward to the next season with much anticipation. But now I hold on as if the seasons are rushed and I missed something. This summer blinked bye. Norm and I didn’t even put out the grill this year. We were too rushed as if we were given only one month instead of three.
Now I observe the sun setting earlier. Less and less daylight. It is as if daylight were grains in an hourglass marking the time we have left to play. We are hurtling to the shortest day of the year. Descending into that tunnel of darkness. Getting up when it’s dark and coming home in the dark and not seeing the light of day until the weekend. What actually keeps me sane is knowing that in January the days are slowly getting longer and we are hurtling towards spring.
Don’t get me wrong. I do love fall. But as I get older I am beginning to feel like September. There is that connection that ebbs it way into the subconscious. I see the leaves on the trees that have those first small brown patches like the first gray hairs on my head. I hold onto the vision of green leaves now, because I know they will soon be gone. I listen to the crickets’ last strains of song knowing their days are numbered, like thinking that of my years of employment before I retire.
Halloween themes now fill the stores. Although it was eighty degrees today and still summer, the pools are closed. This past Saturday there was a drop in temperature and I chose not to wear my sandals. Yes, time to start putting them away like my youth.
Maybe it is because this summer I turned 59. An age I could never dream of in my youth. Where did the summer go? And next summer I will be officially old. There is something in the sound of it: s i x t y ! You can’t get around it. It is old. It has a grandmother sound and all the unmentionables that go with it. It is when the doctor says those three little nasty words: “at your age…”. My mother had reported to me that she did not like it either, but then I was 30 and in another world that was still dominated by hormones that clouded one’s vision.
Now my mother, God love her, is 91. She is no longer an old one. She is an ancient one. Her world that was once large is small. Her short term memory gone. But she still has amazing grace. She still smiles and laughs and is glad to see me. She has broken a family record with her age. It seems like yesterday she was 79 and I was helping her move to Ohio. She was still driving then and seemed more like 65. Go figure. Now age has caught up with her and I wonder how many more Septembers will she see.
But for now it is still summer and I will count my blessings. I will live within the square of the day and leave the time traveling to another day. These are the days to make the most of and find new treasures to remember in the future. I am thankful I can still hear the crickets outside my window. For the cycle of seasons keeps spinning and there are plenty more summers of promise to come.