The other day my brother-in-law told me how much fun he and his family had on vacation. They discovered a thrill-ride involving a rope swing, a cliff and a thirty-foot drop into the water. They also discovered another, higher cliff from which they leapt off into a river below. These risky, adrenaline-pumping activities were clearly highlights of his trip. Continue reading
Have you ever noticed it is easier to start projects than to finish them?
We all have memories of the comic book we started drawing (the first six pages were brilliant), or the vegetable garden we started digging (who knew turning over 200 sq. ft. of sod took so much work?), or those photos we started pasting in that album. (This is what one did with photos before the days of digital cameras and Shutterfly.) Continue reading
“Summer has set in with its usual severity.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Or, if I may rephrase it,
“August has set in with its usual frenzy.”
I love summer. I look forward to it every year. But by August, summer and I have developed something of a love-hate relationship.
August always does this to me. I turn the calendar and suddenly realize that summer will be over in a few weeks and I haven’t accomplished half the things I hoped to do — and so I try to squeeze in a summer’s worth of fun activities and home improvement projects while at the same time trying to juggle dentist and doctor appointments, the processing of excess garden produce, and two books from the summer reading list that need to be read before next week’s book club meeting.
This year, on top of the normal madness brought on by the arrival of August, both sons were home for a brief stretch. (Their visits overlapped for just ten days.) So, instead of coming up with brilliant and insightful blog posts or completing a brief history of the church for the upcoming fortieth anniversary celebration, I went to the beach, sat in the living room talking until midnight, enjoyed a backyard campfire, shared meals with friends and family, baked cookies, and generally tried to soak in these brief moments. Being productive can wait until next week.
If you think this means we have dawdled our way through the month, you are not taking into account the construction projects, laundry, shopping and back-to-school decisions (ie How are we going to finance this semester? Are you going to switch meal plans? Is the monthly parking permit really the best option?) Not to mention all those discussions about cell phone upgrades, car maintenance and goals for next semester that we’ve been putting off all summer. Nothing like the imminence of leaving for college to bring important topics back to mind. (So Dad, about my cracked cell phone…)
Anyway, it’s been busy around here. But son #2 left yesterday (after a whirlwind of last-minute laundry, packing, and tying-up of loose ends) and son #1 leaves this weekend.
Next week the house will be empty.
Next week I can get back to work.
And back to my Things-I-haven’t-gotten-to-this-summer list.
What about you? Does late summer bring a burst of frantic activity or do feel like this:
“Watching the summer close is like watching a good kid die for no apparent reason.” ― Darnell Lamont Walker
Whether you’re sad to see summer go, or are eagerly anticipating the cooler crispness of autumn, I hope you can savor these last days of August.
“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” -Henry James
I agree — even in August.
And more dangerous than ever!
What happens when you have TOO MANY zucchini plants and you only check the garden once a week?
A tubful of Giant Killer Zucchinis. Continue reading
It started innocently enough. (Don’t most things?)
We were standing in the driveway talking about flowers, or the burgeoning population of chipmunks, or the cracks in the blacktop, or … something. But definitely not cats. We’d already decided—no cats until the summer was over. Continue reading
Dreams don’t always turn out the way we imagined them
My grandfather had a dream that the land he farmed would be appreciated by future generations. In 1971 he sold the land to the county, to become part of Cabin Settler’s Park. But that section was never developed and the land sat idle. My grandfather died before anything came of his dream. But the dream was not dead… Continue reading
We have a garden.
A large garden. The kind of garden that can fill an entire refrigerator with one week’s output. And in that garden are twenty-four zucchini plants. [Why do we have so many zucchini plants? I have no idea. I'm not the one who planted them!] Continue reading
You are helping to clean out Great-Aunt Emmaline’s attic and you come across a shoebox filled with old photos. You leaf through them, chuckling at the shots of your aunts and uncles as children, (Uncle Ron always was a goofball, look at that face) and smiling in a vacant way at vintage photos of people you do not recognize. Perhaps Great-Aunt Emmaline scrawled names and dates on the back, giving you a hint about who is staring at you from generations past. But what if she didn’t, and there’s no longer anyone alive who can tell you? What then? Continue reading
Why is it that otherwise perfectly sane individuals will voluntarily exchange the comforts of their homes (such as sand-free, insect-free bedding, running water, refrigerators, and central air) for sleeping bags atop leaking air mattresses, smoky cooking fires, perishables floating in three inches of ice water and a lack of indoor plumbing—or sometimes a lack of plumbing altogether? Continue reading
What if you woke up one day and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung-out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen! Anne Lamott
Every now and then you run across a quote that jumps out, grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you into paying attention. This one did just that. Continue reading