Lost Sunflowers | Mark Lindsay

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.

My father would do a count-down out loud. He’d remind me every morning that there was one day less of my freedom. And he’d do it in a sing-song fashion that he knew would annoy me. My mother was more gentle but it was she who insisted that I get a haircut and a new, uncomfortable pair of dress shoes. I always felt like a dork when I looked in the mirror as I tried on new clothes—clothes that were just a little too big in order to accommodate my unevenly-growing body. I felt awkward no matter how I dressed, but school clothes never helped. No, Labor Day Weekend was not kind.

Now this summer is gone. I look out the window this morning and the faint whiff of autumn reminds me of lost seasons. The golden sun tugs at my memories. I hear the kids walk off to the local school. The garbage trucks compress the weekend’s trash, their hydraulics whining to announce the start of a short week.

The clearly-marked seasons of my youth are gone. The passage of time is no longer precise nor as predictable. I look for small signs of the season’s passing. Yellow leaves from our birch trees swirl around our front stairs. I sweep them but only more fall in their place. I stand with my broom after my job is done and wait for the first, new leaf to light upon the clean concrete. Does it ruin my work? These days I shrug and just try to smile, knowing that nothing lasts.

Yes, the summer is gone.