The Death of Summer


Last evening, a cicada’s mating call shrieked through a briefly opened door. If you’ve never hear the cacophony of a slew of these insects singing, you’d be astonished by the sheer volume. In the Midwest, the sound is familiar enough, and we all know what it means.

“That,” remarked a dear friend, “Is the sound of Summer dying.”

The impact of his statement grazed my mind with the first swing, and came back and smacked it harder sometime later. “The sound of Summer dying?”

But that can’t be! Summer is too young to die! I’m not ready!

There is so much we haven’t done together yet. What about picnics, Frisbee, and bocce ball? My kite collection has gathered dust all season, despite my opportunistic best intentions of putting one of them in the car, “just in case.” You see, kites have a destiny, they must fly to be what they are. By leaving mine to languish in the garage and closets, I feel that I’ve failed them.

Of course, there have been many happy miles bicycling, and more of those to come. There were afternoons on our sunny deck with cool beverages and fond company. There have been so many delightful things, that I should claim no reasonable right to protest the turning of the pages from the second Caesar’s month to the inaccurately named September. Nor is September anything to fear. We have a delightful adventure planned and have been looking forward to it for many months.

I have a significant birthday in September, and I love birthdays. I want all of them I am allowed to have.

Ultimately, this is a natural progression, and by all rights and my own principles, I should embrace it. But I’m solar-powered. My energy comes from the sun. It gives life to virtually every living thing on the planet, and warmth and bliss to me.

The death of summer brings back repressed memories of what is to come. The long-sleeves and slacks, closed-toe shoes and biting wind. Cocktail hour moves in from the deck, and the clocks fall backward in time.

We will bundle up in far more clothing than is comfortable, just to keep from freezing. All along, the sun sets earlier each day as it continues its inexorable march toward the horizon and longest night of the Winter Solstice.

But it is not yet September, and fortunately, that dark December day is not today. I am here now. Today is warm, if a bit cloudy, and the weather wonks of the Interwebs assure me of warmer days later in the week. Time enough in these next few weeks to charge my internal solar cells, bicycle the Mediterranean islands, and dust off the kites. Time enough to enjoy this one day, and those to come.

From Dylan Thomas:

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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