Every September I say it. It’s the most beautiful month of the year where I live. Summer is still here and yet the evenings are beginning to cool. Soft breezes visit often. Wild flowers fall about lazy and flourishing in their rich colours. Spectacular cloud formations make the skies endlessly entertaining. And the light – the light of September is its greatest gift: soft, translucent, dreamy, gentle.
Today I’m hammering away at my computer in my office with its rectangular windows with their rectangular venetian blinds overlooking a landscape filled with other rectangular concrete office buildings under rainy skies and I get a text from Debbie: “Thinking of you. Taking pictures of lupines in Parry Sound.”
It’s a nice thought – that a bunch of bobbing, wild lupines make your friend think of you. And that she tells you so. And that at least she is standing in a place where they are.
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These days more strangers seem to be smiling at me on my walks to work. It’s probably because last week I was listening to the wonderfully charming audio book, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” and this week I’m listening to David Sedaris read his stories. I’m grinning and snorting and chuckling (and sometimes crying) all the time on my walks to work these days, and finding many passers-by with open faces smiling back at me. Reminder to self: Smiling at strangers always pays off – and it doesn’t even have to be intentional.
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Summer hasn’t even shown herself yet, and still, people are already complaining about the weather. Maybe all of those people are the types that ACTUALLY LIKE seemingly endless winters with seemingly endless snow and ice and seemingly endless strings of -25° days with whipping winds that hurt your whole body when you go outside. Me? I prefer a season with lupines.
After work Ceri and I meet up at Fran’s for steak salads on the patio and chat and watch the world go by. It’s been another hot day and sun dresses float by on women everywhere. As a collection of them walks over to a table on the patio, I remark that every one of them has a pattern I wouldn’t pay money for in a million years. Ceri says that he was thinking all the dresses weren’t looking so bad.
It’s a beautiful summer evening and we’re reluctant to leave, so we linger longer than usual. As my friend Lisa said yesterday, it’s what we wait all winter for, no?
Summer has officially arrived and Canadians everywhere are doing what they love to do a lot: complaining about the weather. Not me. I'm so glad to see summer. I am glad to have my bike out; to be wearing sandals and getting pedicures. I'm glad that the city festival season is in full swing; that I am going up to the cottage soon; that my skin is turning brown and that there is colour everywhere. I’m glad to be spending entire days outside; that the harbour is filled with boats and the Harbourfront filled with tourists. I’m glad for the long days and that the summer solstice is almost here. I’m glad for the abundance of fresh foods, and especially glad for having people I love to share it with and a rooftop patio to share it on.
…summer is here. Dad – they're early! I hope we're still able to bring you some next month!
Last night my girls came to dinner. For awhile we had the rooftop patio to ourselves, which was surprising because as summer nights go, it couldn't have been more perfect.
The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens
Tonight we were standing on Cherry Beach, talking about that movie from the 70's, Summer of '42. The thing I love best about this beach is that it still looks like it could be 1942.
The day was changeable – there was warm sun and blue skies, then clouds would move in quick and let fly a little rain, and then the gusty breeze would chase those clouds away again.
It's August and the atmosphere has changed in general, as if by turn of the calendar's page. They're suble at first, this particular month's changes; maybe imperceptible if you're going about your life with your mind on other things.
My mind is always on August. I think August is more beautiful with each passing of it through my life. (Or with each passing of me through it.)
Maybe I just dread winter more and more each year, and August represents the tipping of the scales in winter's direction. As a friend and I discussed this morning, August is that month that invites you outside, and if you don't get out enough you start to get panicky about that; that summer will up and disappear on you even quicker than you'd imagined.
And August, softer, slower, more generous than the other summer months, rewards you for going out. Foods with deep colours and more luscious than ever - corn, cantaloupe, beans, peppers, tomatoes – are piled the farmer's market. Other rich colours begin to line the ditches and fields. Night time is cooler and time stands quieter while vacations and road trips are carried out before the preparations for back to school and back to full time responsibilities in, dare I say, autumn.
August seduces me, leading me outside often. And for that I love her – maybe more than all the other months.
It was August at the end of Summer of '42. Subtle changes in the air – bigger changes in that boy. Are there changes in me this season? I don't know – get back to me in September, my mind is on the gorgeousness of the waning summer. (Beautiful thing number 54)
I've had an unusually social week. If I wasn't having dinner with company, I was out with Carly seeing the final installment of Harry You-Know-Who in 3D or having a thirteenth birthday celebration for my niece Lainey.
Summer's been particularly enticing this year. Each year, I'm drawn out into summer more. I get panicky when I think even a few moments of it will be wasted. My mother experiences the same thing; I checked on her last week during a nasty heat wave and she was cranky and feeling squirrelly, trapped indoors.
Most of the summer has been luscious though. Now that I'm working in the downtown core I escape several times a day for a walk around a different block. There have been a number of blog posts in my head, but didn't get written because I can't stay in.
After this very social week, I must say I'm enjoying having some alone time tonight. But I'm glad you're virtually here, and so I think it's appropriate that I share a little of my summer, and some of those unwritten blog posts with you.
Oh, and have I mentioned there is a new little boy in our family? I have a new nephew, Logan James, a tiny (well not so tiny) harbinger of all kinds of beautiful newness to our world. You might not like this when you're a teenager Logan, but right now, you're beautiful thing fifty-one.
Tomorrow I'm off in a rental car to another event which can't be talked about in advance. But when it's over, I really will try to share it with you in writing.
It’s hot. I’m not complaining; even when it’s upwards of 35°C, I can still remember February.
It’s hot still when I go out for my walk at 10 pm. The minute I step outside the air hugs in close like that blanket I’m dreaming about when I walk outside in February. I get across the street to the lake and it’s not much better. Everything and everyone has slowed down, even the water swells lazily against the piers, and ducks lollygag around, probably wondering why the stupid humans don’t just get in the water. I know I’m tempted.
Even the moon looks hot, so deep in colour it looks like it’s encased in amber, hanging sluggish in the sky behind thin, black cloud ribbons. Lovers loll about on grass pushing hair off shoulders, kissing lazily. Dogs amble along behind their humans. A solitary skater doesn’t work too hard as he arcs on one edge of wheel, then the other.
As I approach York Quay, I feel the smallest drop in temperature; there must be a breeze coming in from the east. There’s a little more action down here as if the people feel it too. Restaurant patios are full, more groups of people are hanging about on the pier taking pictures of one another. While I stop at the end to look at that orange moon still reluctant to climb higher, a guy behind me is hitting the wooden pier with two sticks in a repetitive beat. I might normally enjoy that, but he’s not very good at it; the beat doesn’t roll out of him naturally, instead it seems forced, with missed hits and awkward pauses. I find it annoying and intrusive against the hot night and so I move on towards home.
Back on the quieter end, boats sway against their docks. Most are dark, residents shut inside against the heat. Except one fella, stretched out flat in a chaise lounge on his deck. I’m envious; I wish I could sleep on a boat deck tonight.
I get home and I’m soaked through like a wet rag. Not willing to go anywhere near my lovely clean sheets like this, I take a cool shower and sit down to write while my hair dries.