August has always been the most depressing of months to me. Summer is already half over and the threat of cold weather looms in the distance, heralded by chirping crickets, cooler nights, and heavy morning dew. Those hours of evening lightness are no more – it’s dark at 8 pm, a warning of much worse to come. A bit melodramatic maybe, but hey, it’s Canada, we live for summer here.
It starts with the clouds. You may wake up to a flawless blue sky, but soon those big puffy August clouds come rolling in, spoiling a perfectly nice beach day.
Oh, they’re pretty in a way – it’s best to look at things from Both Sides Now. (Musical interlude – Joni Mitchell wrote this song on an airplane looking down at the clouds, although it was first made famous by Judy Collins. I find the lyrics gloomy, but then it’s become such a strange world, I really don’t know life at all….)
Then you start to see the odd tree branch dipped in paint. There’s a big maple tree on the main street which always starts to turn in early August.
Then there are the back to school ads, a perfect dilemma this pandemic year, although some kids may be looking be looking forward to returning and seeing their friends. Classes don’t resume here until Sept 8 after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
While the stores may beckon with fall clothes, I really can’t justify shopping for anything but essentials when there’s nowhere to wear it, but just being in a store for some hands-off browsing cheered me up immensely.
It hasn’t been the best of summers, with my health issues in May/June (my favorite time of year), the hot humid weather, July’s multiple catch-up appointments and the isolating pandemic solitude. The normal distractions which might bring joy – street festivals, summer theatre, concerts – have all been cancelled.
Plus, August is my birthday month, which is depressing enough, as I’m wondering how I ever got to be that age?
Yes, that age. (BTW, Paul McCartney wrote that song when he was just 16, but it was not recorded until the 1966 Sgt. Pepper’s album, the year his father turned 64. The lyrics reflect his view of old age – gardening, grandchildren, an annual vacation on the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear….but even that is out this year.)
I remember my father when he turned 65, saying he wished he was 16 again and looking at him and thinking, you’ve got to be kidding, they’re paying you to stay home! Yes, it’s nice to be retired and collecting the old age pension but it also means you’re old! While I wouldn’t want to be 16 again (too much angst), my stress-filled 30’s are looking pretty good, and someday I may look back and wish to be my current age. I know I should be grateful to be still alive, relatively healthy and COVID-free, when so many are not. (End of whining).
Although it may feel like summer has slipped away without much in the way of enjoyment, there are still a few weeks to relish the rest of the season. Here are a few things to love about this time of year.
A trip to the Farmer’s Market is always fruitful….
Plums, peaches and nectarines.
The glads for sale are a riot of color but the pinks are still my favorite.
It’s melon season.
And tomato season.
And cherry pie season.
And let’s not forget corn on the cob, slathered with butter for those lucky folks who can eat it.
The new ice cream place is doing a booming business, although they don’t have gelato. Does anyone really need all those weird exotic flavors when chocolate reigns supreme?
Note these are mostly food related, but it’s mostly healthy food and food can be enormously cheering! You can walk off the ice cream and cherry pie with a stroll On The Waterfront. (see future blog)
and watch the boats go by.
Having the beach to yourself on an August day can be a reflective type of solitude,
with only the annoying screech of seagulls to interrupt your thoughts.
You can go beach-combing and gather enough shells,
to make a souvenir of summer!
PS. WordPress congratulations me on my third anniversary of blogging (once a week, Wed/Thursdays, 154 posts, 84 new followers give or take a few persistent vitamin sales people). This was posted in the classic editor but I’m wondering why the photo captions are no longer centered? And why I can’t shrink photos? And where is the word count so I don’t ramble on? I couldn’t post video either? It seems like some of the basic functions are gone. Onward and upward to the dreaded block editor, eventually, but for now I’m enjoying these last days of summer.