Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Late Summer

Tints are in the grasses and color is in our trees as late summer strolls along.

This is the transitional time. Summer mixes with fall. Hot sun is tempered by cooler nights and perhaps a few crisp notes of Canada air. Nuances of change are everywhere.

It’s irrevocably past the late sunsets of six weeks ago. We can’t be tricked into thinking summer is holding on. All the same, it’s too early for the nostalgia that September can lay down with its gold and lavender notes and soft hazy evenings.

At our curb the roses contemplate a second wave of bloom. In late June they were exuberantly pink. They were in full shrubby bloom. 

Heat which came like a blast furnace in July, or their own delicate timing, ended the flowering. It makes this unexpected crop a daily delight.

The roses are companioned by Japanese silvergrass, whose recent growth spurt puts the fronds well above the mailbox in a masterpiece of feathery height.

The untidy but always perky black-eye susans round out the plantings. They've mostly done their own styling for curb appeal after our initial support.

The thistles and nettles that wanted to take hold among the plantings met their match and are gone. They were eradicated one by one with each trip to the mailbox. It made the walk  worthwhile no matter the yield from the mailbox.

Squirrels scurrying across our lawns might as well be pushing wheelbarrows. We’re staggered by the weight in acorns they carry off to hiding places.

The theory is that squirrels collect copiously preceding a winter with teeth to it. Based on our observations investing in a down parka or purchases of knee-high snowboots may not be a bad idea.

Maybe the squirrels are displaying a make-hay-while-the-sun-shines philosophy. The bounty of acorns it appears to be this year could turn the most commonsensical squirrel hyperactive. 

They're seized with the belief they must gather all the acorns in. Never mind that by the time the acorns are needed for winter food they’re exquisitely buried and never to be found.

Watching the gray squirrels work almost feverishly it’ll be interesting what January brings.

These are the weeks to fit in a summer drive or short getaway before such activities wind up on the fall list. We had our short session away not too long ago. We relaxed in the country which basked in the peace of late summer and its proximity to harvest.

The morning star was very bright over the tallest pine in the yard where we were. Early sun skimmed the fields. Late summer fog rolled up from the lake to blanket the shoreline road.

Gazing upon the fog bank from our somewhat higher location the scene seemed vaguely familiar. I realized why. It reminded me of numerous air trips.

Flying through clouds the plane climbs above them into brilliant sunshine. You blink into its blinding dazzle reassured it has been there all the time. 

Above the gray dome of fog on the ground the air was crystal clear, which any driver would soon discover getting through to the other side of it.

The morning was so still that the blur of a rabbit moving like ninety was bound to catch the eye. It was going so fast I figured, with some concern, that it was at the tag end of a not so very hilarious game of pursuit.

I watched for a predator to come charging after. Distance prevented me from doing anything heroic towards saving the bunny should it come to that.

It felt like some role was necessary to take. Being the eyewitness account was the best that occurred to me.

Nothing came along. The bunny sprang deeply into green cover. My conclusion was  there'd been no chase. It was simply an agile cottontail enjoying the free and fresh early air.

Being away from routine, for a short break or a more definite amount of time, is beneficial. For many of us it’s the reason for summer.

Summer is not just for the obvious things like crops to grow and the rain to fall and children to grow in the months away from school.Come to think of it, school vacation is immensely routine-busting as perhaps it was meant to be.

Vacations of any kind, including “down time” of any length, give opportunities for exposure to other kinds of learning and experiences.

They offer chances for unstructured hours where creativity hides out sometimes under the names of boredom and too much time on my hands.

One learns there are places that foster observations and insights. Being away from usual work spots or study spots can be among the best places to hone skills of paying attention – to the world around and to what’s inside.

Each place is different for every one of us. We have our own spots. We know them by the degree of detail we take in or by the plans or new ideas that come with being there.

It's neat to have these places wherever we are. Some of us find these places within a season. It triggers within us reactions clearer than other times of the year.

Each season, as with each place we make our own, can release some idea or perspective perhaps not met with before.

Ro Giencke – August 29, 2012


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