Back to school sales are in full force. Mothers across the land are hugging their kids goodbye at the door and breathing sighs of relief.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise. As soon as Lammas, or Lughnasadh, passes in early August, I began to lean toward fall. We’ve now passed the first of the three harvest festivals, the other two being Mabon (the autumnal equinox), and Samhain.
Right now we’re on the edge where one season meets the next, a magical no-man’s land, an invisible shift.
August is like the Sunday of summer. It’s deceptive because the temperature may still be hot and summery. But I feel the difference, and so does the land surrounding our cabin.
The Ponderosa pine sap begins to build, holding its breath, waiting to run and bring its sweet vanilla scent to the forest. The grapes on our arbor are still sour, but turning purple. It’s time to put them in little paper bags to ripen, remembering to leave a few clusters uncovered for the birds. The nights get cooler, and we sleep under a comforter with the windows thrown open to enjoy the breeze.
In my life I have prepared, planted, and muddled through, to finally reach the point where I can see completion in front of me. I can peer forward through the mists of the future, and know I will be able to harvest what I’ve planted. It brings a sense of calm to life, an inner contentment. Is this what people are talking about when they say, “The golden years?”
This whole summer I’ve been back and forth, up and down the freeway, careening around the mountain switchbacks between our main house in Phoenix and the cabin in the woods we call home in summer. It’s been exhausting and the summer has passed in a blur of inconvenient and unpleasant doctor and dentist appointments. Maybe this is what comes in the Golden Years.
The good news: we have another six weeks of this summer to enjoy. I was going to have a garage sale over Labor Day weekend, but an end-of-the-cabin- season party sounds like more fun. I’ve sent out invitations to all of the people who contribute to our community newspaper. I’m looking forward to hosting a goodbye bash, sharing our new patio, decorated with electric torches that look like flames, and the beautiful lush green lawn (a rarity in Arizona).
After that, I plan to usher in fall with daily forest walks with the dogs. They’re so happy to run in front of me off-leash, sniffing dried cow pies and chasing squirrels. Another sign of summer’s end: The cowboys have rounded up the cows that share our forest all summer.
I’m not sure where they take them next. Sounds like a good research topic for next summer’s newspaper column.
Until then, enjoy your last few weeks, and Blessed Be.