Half-of-July and August Review: summer ends
Here we are, at the tail-end of summer, and I couldn’t be more ready to move on to autumn.
I last wrote half way through July, mid-heatwave. Other than cursing the heat and sweating my way through all the baby’s naps, I was having a wonderful summer exploring with my boy. But now we’re at the end of August, I’m feeling less settled. I’m ready for knitwear and boots and cosy darkness.
If I think, though, of summer days, I do feel the lightness and easiness of summer. The way that you feel full-up of sunshine by the end of the day. Tired limbs, tuggy hair, wild strawberries. Dragonflies visited Piglet in his paddling pool – startlingly green and big. As July came to an end, everything started to get a bit scrappy. The plump and proper foxgloves are replaced by the slightly scragglier rosebay willowherb (foxgloves with their gloves off, as my friend Kirsty said). The grass flops. Everything needs deadheaded. Then August arrives and suddenly everything is golden. The fields are cut (and there are combines to watch). Rosehips are in season. Piglet & I gathered handfuls of thistledown – or ‘fluff’ as we call it – to release into the wind and then chase after. One evening we had the most magical walk. It had been a very hot day. After tea we went out looking for fluff, Trixie asleep on my front in the carrier as usual. We walked down through the community orchard, scattering fluff and chatting. The light was low and golden. We found 11 new snail shells for Piglet’s collection – some pink, some yellowish, others brown and stripy. He stuffed them all into his little hands and carried them home to show dad – fistfuls of treasures. It was such a lovely forty-five minutes together (and a much needed moment in some otherwise hard-going parenting days). That is why summer is great: spontaneous outside time, squeezed into the corners of the day – breakfast in the woods, tea on the riverbank, a walk before bed.
We’ve been trying to grow a very tall sunflower this summer. It has been given much love and water. It is 8ft tall now and shows no sign of flowering. A sunplant, I suppose, rather than a sunflower. I think it wished to be a beanstalk or a pine tree. It will just grow upwards, always, reaching into the sky and refusing to produce us a sun. Piglet lost interest in it a little bit when it got taller than him (how DARE it!). I don’t think he will mind too much if it never flowers.
There’s a family of wrens in the garden. The fledglings are so tiny and dumpy and round and gorgeous. Like little fluffy maltesers.
Piglet has started school nursery. School is the ultimate symbol of the end of summer. This will be the structure of our year, now, for the next 18 years – that expanse of summer holidays, the build up to the new term, bracing for the new-school-year germs. Piglet hasn’t had an easy start to his nursery career. His sadness is hanging over all of us like a heavy cloud. I hope that by the time I write my September review, the situation feels a lot better.
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