Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sonnet 18 and those lazy days of summer....

As I sit here on this cold, late October day and listen to my furnace pumping the house full of artificially hot air, I am feeling nostalgic for my favourite time of year.

It wasn’t always my favourite.  For many years I would have told you that spring was what I longed for.  And then as I got older, autumn caught my fancy.  But since I hit my forties a few years ago I find that the middle two weeks of August are where I find my bliss.

I’m not a fan of the humid heat of July.  It’s sticky.  It’s too hot to go anywhere.  I can’t sleep.  And everywhere is busy with summer fun seekers and kids out of school.  Everything is growing and spreading.  My garden is usually out of control with weeds and every plant is vying for its place in the sun, soaking up rain and nutrients, frenetically pouring energy into procreating, creating its fruit.

But by that second week of August, most summer activities are slowing down and finishing up.  The humidity usually breaks then, too.  The sun is warm, even hot.  But not overpowering.  It’s the kind of heat that sinks pleasantly into your skin, leaving freckles and a sun kissed glow behind. 

The wind is warm.  It caresses your hair and plays with your senses, bringing the smell of BBQ and sun warmed gardens.  Unlike the still, heavy air of July, August breezes hint of paradise, of a place where all things find their place and where peace and tranquility abound.

Even the plants and trees seem to settle into a graceful middle age.  Everything is full and lush and green.  Fruits are beginning to ripen.  The sweet corn is ready for its bath of butter and salt.  Rich and colour flowers hang from the Rose Tree of Sharon in abundance. 

But nothing has begun to turn.  No leaf is yet yellow.  Now flower has yet fallen from grace.  The frenetic activity of the spring and early summer has reached its fruition.  Every living thing has achieved its purpose.  Striving has ceased and nature is sitting back and enjoying its own perfection and completion. 

There is a bitter sweetness to this time for me.  It only lasts two weeks each year, sometimes less.  And then we begin the descent into fall.  Come September 1st it will be time to turn thoughts to school and  the return to routine.  Soon, we will be too busy to sit in the sun and watch the world go by, enjoying the beauty and grace of the trees high above us, communing with God as he whispers to them, gently moving their braches to the rhythm of his voice.  Soon, the breeze will carry on it a smell of frost, even on the warmest of autumn days.  Soon the leaves will begin their rainbow display, one last splash of glory before the cold of winter. 

Even as I sit by the wading pool, watching my kids enjoy one more day of splashing and fun, I know these days are numbered, flowing by too swiftly.  And I am moved to savour them all the more, to hold on to this feeling of completeness, but not too tightly. 

These days are to be enjoyed without regret, to be held lightly in the soul, stored away for remembrance on days like today, days of cold sunshine and bitter winds.  And then I can take them out and relive them, closing my eyes to feel again the warm sunshine on my cheek, the soft breeze in my hair.  Inhaling once more the musky scent of mown grass and hearing the squeals and giggles of my children enjoying these halcyon days.

 

SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee. 


-William Shakespeare

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