Labor Day Weekend evokes long-ago memories. When I was a kid I never cared for holiday (with apologies to my labor-union friends). It was the Back to School jingles on the radio that ruined things. The adult world was clearly taunting me, delighted to see me return to the grindstone. The days were shorter. The new school year was arriving. The summer was gone.
Viewing entries tagged
The squash plant in our backyard is a real producer. According to my count, it must grow some thirty squashes during its short season of life. Plump, firm, colorful, and delicious, the vegetables serve to nourish us throughout the summer.
Everything stops cold in summer. The flow of life seems to lazily drift to a halt, like a boat that runs out of gas. I find it frustrating. It takes twice the effort to get anything done in this season because we push against an invisible force of resistance. Except for the Jersey Shore I've always felt that summer is way overrated. Once it begins I start to count the days until golden light of autumn.
Sunday’s farmers market during the summer is always packed. It’s that way in the summer. No one can resist the fresh corn or the plump, red tomatoes. And the peach guy has about twenty samples on which some people gorge for about twenty minutes. They look like overgrown chipmunks, cheeks full of peach slices and the juice dripping off their chins. The long days attract mothers and their strollers and fathers and their sons. Mixed among the seasonal hoards are the regulars who I see week in and week out, even in the lean months of January when broccoli seems to be the only star of the market.
The wind is howling this morning. It howled last night and for the three nights before that. Wind signals change. Something is blowing out and is being replaced by whatever is blowing in. By the time whatever is on the way actually arrives the wind will have wreaked its havoc. Broken planting pots, fallen garbage cans, branches and leaves are everywhere. This wind leaves behind the debris of change as it blows in something new. And I suspect that something new is the summer season.
Once, when I was ten, I lit a sparkler right in the middle of our living room. This, of course, was a mistake, something a pubescent boy is predisposed to make. It caused quite a stir as the acrid, metallic smoke filled the small room. While I only pulled this stunt but once, mostly because of all the yelling, I can still smell sparkler smoke as I write this. That—and the sulfur smell of real fireworks—always reminds me of July 4th. Smells evoke memories like nothing else.
The day is filled with activity. Yellow jackets built an angry nest in the front yard. A man in a bee suit arrived to take care of the infestation. And my handyman is here, fixing some dry rot from the winter rains. With the drone of electric sanders in the distance, I try to make art and update the web site. I look for yellow jackets out of the corner of my eye. Contemplation is nowhere to be found.
Like a cluttered attic, sometimes my head gets stuffed. I've tried every time-management method there is. I've written lists, kept journals, made Gantt charts, flowed flow charts, and checked checklists. My brain still hurts. Sometimes it feels like pinballs are rattling around up there, bouncing off the padding of the inside wall of my skull. "Do this, do that. The world will end if you don’t…” Thoughts. I've become a human doing instead of a human being. That's why I like to watch grass grow.
July Fourth in our town seemed somber this year. Buried in the facade of its usual silliness, it somehow felt just a wee bit forced in its frivolity. Perhaps the same parade with the same floats year after year has numbed us all. Maybe the economy has blunted the usual patriotic optimism and fervor for everyone. Or, maybe it was just me.
A lake in summer. The hot sun beats down on my neck, burning into my collective memory of past summer suns. Walking along a dusty path I see the shimmer of heat waves as they rise ahead. Then, I hear the sloshing of the lake's shoreline. Water dances and laughs at me, beckoning me towards it. Like a fountain of youth it sends me into a dream.