Here I am again. My knuckles are white, my heels are dug in, and my teeth are clenched. Every year I seem to grasp onto fleeting summer days with a little more passion. Maybe because time as a whole, regardless of the season, is slipping faster as I get older.
Maybe because summer on our little homestead, even with all her tilling, planting, cultivating, and watering; even with all her breeding, tending, and feeding… summer is not as much as a time-demander as fall with all his harvesting, canning, and mulching; with all his butchering, cooking, and tanning.
Maybe because homeschooling will soon begin in our house for the 16th year. As much as I love it, it’s a daunting task to be facing for the 16th time.
Maybe because the oldest, the Mechanical Engineer, is packing her car tomorrow morning and eagerly driving into her second year of college. Or maybe because this is my final year to have the lover-of-all-things-Marine under my roof. Next August she too will be packing a car that’s pointed toward higher education.
But whatever the reason that I am resisting the beginning of autumn, at least I have companions in my white-knuckled stubborn clutch on summer: The loons on our lake sing my song of end-of-summer sadness mournfully well.
I hear their lament coming from beyond the pickerelweeds as I welcome this end-of-summer day sitting by the cool river falls.
I listen to my own deep breaths intermingling with their crying calls as I back stroke through the cool lake waters and watch the clouds meander over pine pinacles. “At least the green pine refuses to change regardless of the season.” Thoughts of steadfastness add to my buoyancy, and I relax all my weight into the water.
My shoulders stretch in a figure 8, my feet kick through the cool clear wetness, and my face soaks in the sun’s warmth. The water covers my ears and muffles the loon’s cry, but I still hear her over the hollow rhythm of my breathing.
She is a feathered poem of iambic dots and dashes that zigzags through the summer lake water, connecting spring joys to the chills of autumn mornings with the sometimes mournful, but always beautiful, rhyme of its own pentameter. A rhythm that sounds like home. A rhythm that carries me into the next season.
I moaned like a mourning dove [or a mournfully beautiful loon]… Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. In your love you… have put all my sins behind your back. The living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. Isaiah 38: 14-19