The last of Indian Summer slips away….the days passing all too swiftly.
We want to savour each moment—but how do you store up the scent of apples turning crisp in the autumn sunshine? The smell of marshmallows toasting on a campfire? The silky softness of creek-water slipping between your toes?
Days ago, it seems, the corn in the fields was young and tender—just knee-high. Now it’s old and arthritic…Dry, raspy cornstalks whispering to themselves in the autumn breeze.
The drone of honeybees will soon be lost—just an echo in the corridors of our minds. The stain of juicy blackberries will fade away…Our purple fingertips becoming lighter as the stains turn to winter’s whiteness.
Every season has moments of nostalgia, but none is as priceless as Indian Summer. It reminds us of our own mortality. It’s the kiss of farewell from a dear friend. A final wave as the old locomotive pulls out of the station…The wail of a train echoing across the prairie as the twilight of winter sweeps toward us.
I sit by the river, today, picnicking in the sunshine while scribbling words in my notebook. I am alone—except for the pesky ants. They scurry and hurry…no doubt looking for their own relics of Indian Summer. The crumbs from my banana bread and fried chicken are of major importance to them. Each morsel is carefully gathered and carted off.
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard!” the Good Book says. “Consider her ways and be wise!”
I toss the ants an apple core to nibble on, and reach in my bag for another apple. It is bruised. In fact, it has a worm hole in it…but what does it matter? It’s an apple from our tree. A remnant of the past summer. Even with its bruises and worm-holes, it still contains the warmth of a summer sun. The sweetness of the season. Summer encapsulated.
I take a bite, savouring the sweet tartness of the summer months. I nibble away at June, July and August…the sweet compilation of an entire summer.
It’s a shame, really. So much of our summer was spent in the hustle and bustle of plain ol’ living. Complaining! Sweating! Swatting skeeters! Trying to meet deadlines and schedules while our plans went awry.
But in October, these things suddenly seem unimportant. A different kind of urgency descends upon us—a hunger to hold onto those things we ignored during the thoughtless days of summer. We should’ve done more camping and boating and berry-picking…Should’ve spent less time complaining about the heat and bugs and humidity.
We try to compensate for the wasted hours, now, regretting the days filled with carelessness.
See the bright orange on the back of a ladybug? How many spots does she have, and what does that number mean? Is it her age? Does she have a husband or is she a single mom?
“Ladybug, Ladybug—fly away home! Your house is on fire, your children are gone…!”
Old rhymes from childhood drift through our minds. Snatches of this and that. Random thoughts that we never think about during other seasons. Every color of autumn is highlighted in our minds. Every scent magnified. Every emotion explored as we feel our way through the final days of the season: touching, tasting, hearing, feeling.
Pretty pebbles that we didn’t notice in the high-noon of summertime now become rare treasures—to be gathered and exclaimed over. The buzz of a hornet becomes music to our ears, because it means that the warm season is still with us—to be explored and loved and treasured.
Memories. Dreams. Sunny fantasies…How do we hold onto them?
A daily journal suddenly seems important to us. So does a camera. A picnic basket. A fishing rod. And a half dozen of those corn-on-the-cob-holders. Warm-weather paraphernalia. We gather up the items swiftly—like chipmunks gathering crumbs—prepping ourselves before the long winter comes.
Everything’s been stored away in the back closet ‘til now, awaiting a lapse in the dizzy-tizzy bustle of summer…It’s almost too late, now, but we rush about—scrambling to make memories before it’s all over…hearing the tick of a great clock echoing in the back of our minds. Hayrides! Bonfires! Camping parties!
Where is my tent? Lighter fluid? Lantern? And where did someone misplace my Summer? It is gone. Simply gone!
With a sigh, I lay back on my blanket, watching two young girls play across the river. They cavort with their dogs—making the most of the warm weather, splashing in the river…playing in the sand.
Life’s tender moments. The memories. The friends we store up. The relationships that we treasure… Like pretty pebbles on a riverbank, these things need to be gathered while the warmth of the sun still shines. All too soon, the coldness of winter and old-age will settle upon us.
We need to hug our loved ones and family close to us—cherishing the warm memories as the winds of time sweep on and the chilly twilight settles. No bitterness and regrets and hard feelings. They are cold comfort in our hour of need.
Hold to the good and get rid of the bad, lest the blizzards come and sweep it all away! Faith and families and friendships. Like summertime and life, itself—they can be fleeting. Here one moment and gone the next.
Like these words…This very article, my friend. It’s flowing along smoothly….