Beauty by Jeffrey Woods and Mother Nature
The days are becoming shorter, nighttime temperatures cooler and an imperceptible murmur (similar to an age-old chant) is affirming summer's end throughout the woods.
Though elusive, this woodland psalm plays every summer - right on schedule. And while I never know the exact day I’m going to feel, see or hear it, I always know this unwelcomed melody will visit and fill the woods with bittersweet songs of days-gone-by.
“There is something deep within us that sobs at endings. ... Why does all nature grow old? Why do spring and summer have to go?” ~ Joe Wheeler
In Jeffrey Woods, as elsewhere, the wild chatter of birds, the scurrying pace of animals and the rapid growth of plants have slowed.
Fledgling owls have grown to look like their parents, fawns are spending more time away from their mothers and baby birds no longer scream for their next meal.
The shrill, giddy sounds of children’s voices and the deep clanking echoes of swing sets have also become painfully absent.
Fiery sunsets now dapple woodland floors with shimmering orange speckles, eerie full moons haunt night-time skies with often-forgotten memories and raucous treetop insects sing repeated warnings that something is amiss.
Yet, nothing's really amiss - just one season moving into another. Still, the vague feeling of loss is hard to explain.
Because summer is my favorite time of year, it always seems to go too fast.
As a child, I couldn’t wait for August, which also brought my birthday and the Perseids Meteor Shower with it. What better gift could a little girl have than a summer full of adventure and a sky full of shooting stars. (Stars that I was convinced were meant just for me.)
And while thinking you’re the center of the universe may have stalled scientific progress during medieval times, it wasn’t such a bad thing for a young child.
Back in the days of my childhood, kids with summer birthdays sorta got lost in the shuffle. Their birthdays didn’t get recognized in the fall by their teachers, nor did they have the opportunity to pass out fancy, homemade cupcakes to their classmates.
Adding insult to injury, by the time my August birthday rolled around, most adults were already busy replacing the things of summer with the things of fall. (Life in the 50s was harder and easier all at the same time - and always 24 hours of hot, hot, hot.)
While this scenario may sound a little disappointing, it really wasn't as I always enjoyed cake on my birthday and shooting stars on my birthnight. More than enough celebration as I stretched out on my bed to watch the amazing light show taking place just outside my window.
Fast forward many decades later and I'll once again enjoy my birthday and the final gifts of summer by watching nighttime skies with those I love - serenaded by summer's singing insects.
Summer's lease hath all too short a date.” - William Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Sonnet 18
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss