08 Aug The Fleeting Abundance of Summer’s End
What are your favorite memories of summer? For some of us, food plays a major role in defining what “summer” means to us. Homemade ice cream, ice-cold watermelon, steaks or burgers on the grill, fresh corn on the cob, and chins that are sticky with the juice from Georgia peaches are all signs that summer is here and that summer is good. For others of us, it is a special place or event that makes summer unique: spending evenings at the baseball diamond or returning to our favorite beach or making the annual trek to Grandma’s house where we hang out with cousins. Chasing lightning bugs used to be a ritual of my summertime. So did sunning by the community pool covered in baby oil. When I spend time outside now, I do it doused in bug repellant and slathered with sunscreen. Adulthood has definitely cramped my summertime style.
One end-of-summer ritual that I miss terribly is buying school supplies. I have a real “thing” for school supplies. Pencils and erasers. Notebooks. Rulers and scissors and glue sticks. And Post-it notes. Especially Post-it notes. By late spring, I was always ready for school to be over and the freedom of summer to commence, but I loved the start of school—all the brand new supplies, organizing my backpack and locker, getting my folders ready for each class.
This past weekend, I inadvertently walked into a school supply frenzy. Because my children are now grown, it never occurred to me that this was Virginia’s Tax-Free weekend for school shopping. I did wonder why the parking lot looked really crowded, even for a weekend, but I still didn’t connect the dots. So I wandered in on a random errand, and was immediately assaulted by the shrieks of both children and exasperated parents filling carts to the brim with clothes and lunchbags, reams of paper and boxes of crayons. One child wearing a princess costume glided past me in the aisle. Did I miss something? Is it Halloween already?
No, the dog days of summer are still upon us. It was so humid as I walked this morning that I felt like I had been swimming when I finished. My morning commute was still blessedly easier with people gone on vacation and school buses not yet making their daily runs. Garden fresh tomatoes are still plentiful. I am grateful for these long, slow days. I look ahead to September and I know what is coming—programs back in full swing, special events already cramming the calendar, the pace revving up significantly. It will be fun and exciting and lots of hard work when it arrives, and I will love it. But for now, I am enjoying the pace of summer. I am reading and reflecting on issues that are more long-term and strategic, rather than immediate. I am planning for events that are two or three months away, rather than next week. I am even starting to think about Advent.
These days are a gift, as is the rhythm that is created by the seasons. Not only does the earth need and benefit by various seasons, so do our souls. Once upon a time, people did not have to be reminded of this. Their lives were integrally and inescapably tied to the constant changes of the earth. They knew that to survive the winter, they had to make provision in the summer. Our souls need provision, too, so I encourage you to feed your soul in these waning days of August. Appreciate the fruits of the earth that are fresh and abundant now, but that won’t be available later. Enjoy a nighttime escapade with your children or grandchildren that won’t be possible once the daily schedule is dictated by, “it’s a school night.” Take in a movie or a sunset, call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, discover a new biking trail, photograph a flower or a beloved’s face or a mountain vista from a different angle, make jam, or spend an hour doodling or writing a poem. Notice what God has made for us in this summer season and don’t forget to give thanks for it.
And if you happen to be graced by the appearance of a princess or a superhero, be sure to give thanks for them, too. We can’t have too many of those in the world.
Yours for the Kingdom,