Saturday, August 30, 2014

The end of summer

"The crickets sang in the grasses.  They sang the song of summer's ending, a sad, monotonous song. 'Summer is over and gone,' they sang, 'Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.'
The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year - the days when summer is changing into fall - the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change...
Everybody heard the song of the crickets.  Avery and Fern Arable heard it as they walked the dusty road ... Mrs. Zuckerman, at work in the kitchen, heard the crickets, and a sadness came over her, too. 'Another summer gone,' she sighed.
'Summer is over and gone,' repeated the crickets. 'How many nights til frost?' sang the crickets. 'Good-bye, summer, good-bye, good-bye, good-bye!'
The sheep heard the crickets, and they felt so uneasy they broke a hole in the pasture fence and wandered up into the field across the road ... a little maple tree in the swamp heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety.'"
I read this chapter, "Crickets, " from Charlotte's Web to Clara the other day and thought that perhaps E. B. White felt the way I do about the ending of summer.  I never want it to end.  I want the long hot days to go on and on and on; for watermelons and corn and tomatoes and yellow squash and okra to keep ripening; for the farmers to continue bringing their produce on Monday afternoons to the little market by the railroad tracks.  I want to be hot enough that the cool, well water in the pool feels refreshing; to sweat when I walk; to hear the electric throbbing hum of the cicadas.

Down south, first frost is still a ways off.  We will have plenty of hot days in September, I'm sure.  I even thought about challenging myself to swim outside every day in September.  We'll see about that.

E. B. White, who wrote Charlotte's Web, lived in Maine, so Labor Day weekend really did signal the end of summer for him.  Fall was just around the corner, the brilliant colors of the maples and oaks, the harvest of apples, the chill of frost soon coming very soon.  We still have a bit of time.  September is not yet full-fledged fall here.  In October and on into November, we will have mild, shirt-sleeve days.

It's coming, though.  Leaves are already drying and drifting down.  The tulip poplars are the first ones that yellow and fall.  We scoop them out of the pool along with the last of the pink crepe myrtle blossoms.  I spotted a bit of red on the drooping leaves of an August-dry dogwood.  Mums are appearing in the garden centers.  Pumpkins will be here soon.

I don't want summer to end.  I'm not ready for sweaters.  And yet ...

I feel the dry, brittle grass in the front yard, see the summer weary beauty berry with hints of purple in the clusters of berries. The hosta blooms are spent, their stalks, dry pokers now.  The bronze fennel has gone to seed, .  So, let the season change.  Let the cool weather come.  E.B. White said these were the most beautiful days - the days when summer was changing into fall.  I understand but don't agree.  I still prefer March and April, with the promise of growth and warmth ahead, but I'll settle into the beauty of fall when it comes. I'll put a mum on the porch and change out the summer wreath on the front door and even enjoy wrapping up in a quilt on the porch in the chill of the mornings to come.


Kay Pinckney said...

This was probably your most depressing blog post yet. I was thinking just the other day how I feel like I missed out on a lot of summer fun this year and how I'm sad the summer is almost over. But I guess I can look forward to twice as much fun next year with David! Bring on the fall, but may it be a warm winter!

beth said...

I know you feel the same way I do about summer! It's never long enough. But, yes next summer with be lots of fun with that little guy!

Cheri Struble said...

Oh, I could have written this post. I never comment here but I enjoy your blog very much. I found it somehow after meeting you briefly at the CM conference.