Song for late summer

The kids take pictures of me napping at unflattering angles. The first colors of fall start along the highway: the pink-purple fireweed against the green, the coming yellows and browns. Those black spruces leaning in the muskeg, long patches of sphagnum across the tundra like the color palette we saw in Scotland that one November. The stark feeling in Alaska that we are far, far away. Far away, and closer still.

The busybody hummingbirds taunt our cat. Tree frogs eye me from the side. A scribble of bugs in the sunset coagulating in the shape of a question mark. Denali just lost an hour of daylight this week. An owl hoots. Maybe it’s true, that wood is life and time, the fire that feeds on it: accelerating or going idle, burning faster or slower for reasons outside of our control. That despite all the death from the burn there is new life, and the fires burn off the dead, and diseased.

The day softens with pink and gold dabbing the edges. Smells change. The birds sing first, then the frogs. Between are the bats, silent save for their flaps. The night comes slow in late summer, the mornings too.

We are what we believe we are: considerably less, considerably more, but confined to the frame that we make for ourselves.

The night drops out of the sky. New sounds emerge, geese overhead squawk their goodbyes, their good riddance. Distant traffic can always be pawned off as the tide going out. And when jets arc the sky…always the appeal of the foreign, of going away.

I sit waiting for the first pin pricks of stars on the night. August fades to pink in the west; we cut down all that’s dead in the yard then toss it on a tarp for the transfer station. The earth is starved for it, for the changing of the guard, for the routine.

Dawn’s hair is whitening on the edges of her face, there. But we are nowhere near the winter of our lives, this season: more, late summer. Tomorrow I’ll cut the grass and pack the clippings in a bag. It is the last of the 8 o’clock sunsets now, and time to gather wood.



Categories: prose, travel, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. Oh my goodness, this really resonates. Maybe I’m just in a mood that’s like the one you’re in. Or maybe, like some of the Eastern sages say, when someone is speaking from the source, there’s no way to not be drawn in with them. This one drew me in. I could pick any number of lines that stand out, but for some reason I’m picking the one with the hanging ‘there’. Thanks for this, this one feels good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi! So glad to hear that! Have been simmering for a while with a bunch of notes, stops and starts…and this is where it landed. Have been thinking about your writing and missing it, hopeful we’ll see some waltbox action coming in time for Halloween! I borrowed the wood/time image from a David Mitchell book I’m reading now, set in 18th century Japan. So there you go, maybe some of that Eastern stuff you’re picking up on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gorgeous writing, man. I’m there. Then again, my hair went white some time ago …

        Loved that Mitchell book, by the way. Something about Jacob Something or Other? After Cloud Atlas, it felt like quite a departure … but so rich.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ha, nice Kevin…yes enjoying “The thousand autumns of Jacob de Zoet.” He got a pass for the lit fiction market, right???

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the my morning dose of verbal beauty. I was there with you. And you can tell Dawn that she’s in good company.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha…I get that, the white. That’s a lovely comment Ann, thank you for reading and checking in, always great to hear from you! Enjoy your day! Bill


  3. Really enjoyed this. Changing of the guard – most of us lack the wakefulness, much less mindfulness, but this entry of yours is a nice poetic record of paying attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seeing the details of subtle changes as life goes on

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely, lively piece here. Are nap pictures ever flattering, aside from maybe baby naps? I take them and have them taken…never flattering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kristen! Thank you and so nice to hear from you…hope your summer is drawing down nicely and the girls are looking forward to school again. It tilts back in that direction…and yes, nap photos suck.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, a man for all seasons. Enjoyed the crepuscular tone; a fluttering of leaves.
    Living in summer… breathing it in. We have spring blossoms but I’m feeling approaching winter keenly, reading and writing in a clinic waiting room.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s a tapestry there Bill…of rich and royal hue, thank you Carol King, and thank you Bill for weaving this one together so beautifully and sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha…don’t put Carole King in my head please, that’s a Sunday morning reflection anthem, not Friday night happy hour 😀 but love the comparison, her music, your words here Ilona…thank you! Enjoy the night…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When we camped in New Brunswick, we went from living on the eastern edge of the Eastern Time zone to the western edge of the Atlantic. I relished that later sunset.

    Liked by 1 person

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