All afternoon I have been thinking: fall is coming. You wouldn't really know it by the 100 degree heat and the hum of the A/C, but certainly the calendar heralds its approach. Today is the last day of August, tomorrow is September and many children are heading back to school. The sycamore trees at the park have lost just a touch of their brightness, the green beginning a slow fade to yellow and brown. This weekend brings Labor Day, with the last BBQ party of the season (not that is makes any sense, as we will grill year round but not attend another BBQ until Memorial Day).
Across the web, people post about a chill in the air, as fall arrives in places like Vermont. Friends are harvesting and canning apples, peaches, and more. Gardens are bursting with produce. People are thinking about long woolens, corduroy, and boots.
I feel unsettled, ready to either nest or do the fall cleaning. I straighten the breakfast nook and put the cheery yellow and blue checked cloth on the table, just to remind myself that summer is still here. I put the pillar candles back on the table after unsuccesfully searching for the brass taper holders I had so many years ago. I try to pull down the white dishes, packed away 6 years ago and not used since. I resolve to use the silver at dinner, even though it means I have to wash it by hand.
As if in agreement with my discontent and my forward gaze toward autumn, I find the boys outside stringing paper Halloween garlands across the trees. They are disappointed when I tell them that Halloween won't be here for two months; somehow Jake thought it would be at the end of September.
One room at a time I seek and create order, harmony, beauty. A candle here, a rock or shell there, a pastel drawing on a blackboard. We find a rose and put it in a vase on the dining room table, enjoying its scent and color. We pick more roses and cut off the dead blossoms, so that October will once again bring us armfuls of flowers. I note that the lavender flowers are spent.
My head is full of Autumn's songs; the songs we started our lessons with last year. I hear the refrain of "Summer Goodbye" and think that soon we will sing it again. We'll pull out the garlands, the cornucopia, the little wool gnomes dressed in the colors of the turning leaves. We'll have a fire, and pick up our woolen handwork again.
Already the days are shorter, and we are in bed earlier and awake earlier as well. I look forward to the time change. Summer may have her last hurrah, but she cannot stay.
Round and round the earth is turning
Turning always round to morning
And from morning round to night
So also are the seasons. Summer, once dreamed of, then anticipated and finally realized, is wished a happy good-bye, and we go round and round and round...