A strong storm rumbled across the upper Midwest this morning. It carried a message. “This is the peak of summer,” the strong wind proclaimed.
Although autumn is my favorite time of year, I am sad to see this particular summer end. Oddly, I don’t recall feeling this way since the summer of 1966 as I looked forward to my senior year in high school. I will remember that summer as the last, full summer of freedom I enjoyed until this year living in the simplicity of my hobbit house with Clarence. Oh yes! I miss Mrs. tVM’s companionship – and she does visit two or three times each week to cut and move firewood – but in our ‘homelessness’ – she living with our daughter in Minnesota and me ‘off the map’ – I find freedom.
Three signs stand out to me that this is the peak of summer. Midway between the autumnal equinox and the summer solstice, the days are noticeably shorter and the pace at which the sunlight dwindles quickens every day until we reach the equinox. Secondly, there is the slightest of color – mostly faint, pale yellow – revealing itself in the deciduous trees that surround me. I look forward to the colors of autumn, but I rue the deep green of summer. Similarly, the foliage is thinning. As the wind roared by with the morning storm, it ripped fragile leaves from their swaying branches and scattered them through field and forest. Even now as the sky clears, I see light through what last week was a thick and solid wall of greenness.
Yesterday, I noticed dragonflies by the hundreds flying in disarray over the field of goldenrod outside my door. I think they were trying to tell me something as well.
If there is a message here, it is this. The world around us overflows with signs that – if we are attentive – can help us lead more productive and satisfying lives. As summer gives way to autumn, I approach my seventh decade with the thought that I am approaching my favorite season. I have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to.