Farewell to Summer

Aren’t you bursting with butterflies on the fourth of September?
Like you’ll have to get on the bus in your tartan  dress, with your lunch box.
Though your body is twenty-nine. Though your  mind is an old thing.

Karen Peris Beginning the World

Philip and I had a bonfire last night. The unbearable humidity has given way to one of the South’s charming, teasing interludes of cooler weather, signifying what is to come. As we sat by the blaze, throwing back our heads to the starry sky and watching the leaves over head dance and flutter in the heat, a wind came stealing by that was not like any wind that we have known over the languid months of summer. This was a fall wind, just a breath, but unmistakable. It was a promise, and made my heart beat faster.

At the change of the seasons Philip and I have a little tradition of toasting out the old and in the new. We like to read bits and passages from favorite books that capture our feelings for a particular time of year, and mull over together what we’ve loved best about the season that has gone. Tonight we will sit on the front porch and watch the shadows grow long across the pasture and remember a wonderful vacation with my sister and her husband, dancing at Jekyll Island on our sixth anniversary, more tomatoes than we could handle from the garden, reading A Room With a View… Below are two of my favorite passages, ones that we will more than likely enjoy tonight:

from L.M. Montgomery’s The Story Girl

Our summer was over. It had been a beautiful one. We had known the sweetness of common joys, the delight of dawns, the dream and glamour of noontides, the long, purple peace of carefree nights. We had had the pleasure of bird song, of silver rain on greening fields, of storm among the trees, of blossoming meadows, and of the converse of whispering leaves. We had had brotherhood with wind and star, with books and tales, and hearth fires of autumn. Ours had been the little, loving tasks of every day, blithe companionship, shared thoughts, and adventuring. Rich were we in the memory of those opulent months that had gone from us–richer than we then knew or suspected. And before us was the dream of spring. It is always safe to dream of spring. For it is sure to come; and if it be not just as we have pictured it, it will be infinitely sweeter.

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

…They left the mellow light of the dandelion wine and went upstairs to carry out the last few rituals of summer, for they felt that now the final day, the final night had come. As the day grew late they realized that for two or three nights now, porches had emptied early of their inhabitants. The air had a different, drier smell and Grandma was talking of hot coffee instead of iced tea; the open white-flutter-curtained windows were closing in the great bays; cold cuts were giving way to steamed beef. The mosquitoes were gone from the porch, and surely when they abandoned the conflict the war with Time was really done, there was nothing for it but that humans also forsake the battleground… June dawns, July noons, August evenings over, finished, done, and gone forever with only the sense of it all left here in his head. Now, a whole autumn, a white winter, a greening spring to figure sums and totals of summer past. And if he should forget, the dandelion wine stood in the cellar, numbered huge for each and every day…

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