Summer, thanks for stopping by.
It’s just about time to wrap things up, Summer. I’m not really one of those people who talks about how fast or slow you’ve been going — the truth is, I think you moved along at just the right clip.
My mudroom has bead-board wainscoting — is that the right word? — that runs to higher than 5’4″ (I know because it’s over my head) that is topped off by a small ledge. This ledge is the perfect perch for bottles and tubes of sunscreen. I begin buying sunscreen in the spring — as soon as I see it, really, which often means (in NJ) around Spring Break time for those who are planning to decamp to Panama City — and I can mark summer days passing by as the number of bottles dwindle. Currently there are only about 4 useful bottles on the ledge. The bottles start out all pristine and shiny, marked with our name, and by the time September rolls around they are sticky, tacky, smudged and clogged with sand or some unrecognizable ick. The ones that are residing on the ledge at this moment are candidates to make it through to Christmas — waiting for that random sunny fall day that might find redheaded me on a soccer field sideline, tempting fate.
Our swimming pool will also be closed during the first week of September, and the sound of falling water will cease. When we built the pool a couple of years ago, I wanted one of the pool returns (where the water comes back after running through the filter) to be a waterfall down one of the pools walls. The pool is built into a hill, so there’s a 4 foot wall that provides a somewhat dramatic “sheer descent” waterfall. The pool filter runs 7a to 5:30p, so from the deck areas of the house (and of course the pool deck itself) there is a steady splash from the waterfall. The joke is on me — I thought it would be restful to be sitting by the pool while the wee ones were at camp, reading and sipping iced tea….but the reality is that this never happened this summer and even if it did, the waterfall sound is so loud and constant as to get on my last nerve. When it finally shuts off at 5:30, it is like someone’s turned off Mother Nature’s noise machine. Ahhh, quiet.
Before 7a one day a week, the quiet is broken by Luis, the guy who comes to cut our lawn. He will often sit in his clean fire-engine red pickup truck at the end of our driveway beginning at 6:45, waiting for the big hand to get to the 12. When it does, he fires up the lawnmower. Morning has broken. I can’t say I mind at all — there is nothing as lovely as the smell of freshly cut grass, nor as hilarious as the two (or three) dogs attempting to play with Luis while he drives the mower.
Once, a couple of years ago, our landscaping grew out of control when we encouraged a mysterious vine to take over the boxwood hedges in front of the house. Turns out we were cultivating our very own pumpkin patch — but we didn’t know it at the time. In retrospect it seems clear that a stray seed from the previous fall’s jack o’ lantern landed in the mulch and decided it was as good a place as any to lay down roots. There were no signs of pumpkins until much later in the fall, but for the whole summer we watched as small fuzzy leaves grew into enormous prickly ones, as skinny tendrils of vine — which started out as so cute wrapped around the porch railing — grew to be thick tentacles of determined plant, destined to choke everything in its path.Summer was very kind to that pumpkin vine — it really thrived — and it was a great lesson for the kids about what makes things grow, what’s a weed and even if it’s not a weed, how it can become a nuisance. We only got one pumpkin out of that vine — about as big as a cantaloupe. Lot of bluster for not a lot of follow-through.
For sure you know Summer’s stay at my house is over when the kids start making grand plans for (speaking of bluster and shoddy follow-through)….Halloween. I tried to institute a Family Law that we were prohibited from discussing Halloween before September 1, but I have a family of scofflaws and such rules are never followed. Seems, in fact, that Family Halloween Planning begins earlier and earlier. Yes, there are the costume catalogs that begin to arrive by August, but truly this crowd has been announcing their costumes, then changing their minds, then announcing new costumes (lather, rinse, repeat) multiple times before enough catalogs have even arrived so they each can have one. Those department store window dressers have nothing on my children. Christmas in October? Ha. October in June. How can I tell Summer’s done? The half-dozen Lillian Vernon (et al.) catalogs that are missing covers, wedged in the couch, left on the bathroom floor, and, oh yes, being fought over as if they might contain the Secrets of the Universe.
So thanks, Summer, it was great to spend time with you. I have to ask you to get your stuff out of the guest room as quickly as possible — we need the space for the latex masks and polyester wigs that will be arriving just after Labor Day. Watch Luis and his mower on the way out.
This post was sparked by a Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompt:
“What five images paint a picture of summer to you?
Put those five images together in a piece of writing.”