by: Mike Lushington
Early August! Another summer is well along. There are many of us who
feel that it has just gotten started, and in many ways it has. We have had
a protracted, cold and damp spring - one that extended well beyond what
the calendar defined as early summer, and to think that it might be
approaching its winding down somehow seems unfair. Still, Salmon Festival
is little more than a memory and the Bon Ami Get Together is history.
Inevitably people begin to plan for the fall, for the opening of schools,
and the starting up of many activities that have been on hold for the past
We live in winter country. For years I have believed that winter
defines us and that it dictates the timing of many of the things that we
do. Certainly for those of us who still practice a "country lifestyle" of
some farming, gardening, woodcutting, and haymaking, summer and autumn are
little more than opportunities to prepare for another winter. Like it or
not, it is inevitable that any day now we will begin to day closer
attention to the weather reports in dread of the first of the fall "frost
warnings" that signal the onslaught of another winter.
Still, these are the days of high summer. August has always been one of
my favourite months, especially when it behaves as it should. The garden
that looked so unpromising a month ago has begun to produce and things
seem to have caught up to where they are supposed to be. Most of the
weeding has been done; the hay has been made, the lawns are beginning to
slow down, and there are more evenings when one can sit out to enjoy
sunsets without being unduly pestered by flies. It is time to pause and
enjoy some of the indolence that we fantasize about during the long cold
days of January and February. August is: early mornings of heavy dew that
prelude the heat of later on; afternoons in the shade, perhaps in the
hammock, with a good book, a long cold drink of the fluid that restores,
and the time for a lengthy nap; and evenings on the river. August is: time
for visiting with friends and family, for taking some of those
long-promised day trips here and there simply to enjoy the pleasures of
the countryside, and time simply to slow down. Even Sasha, our often
irrepressible pup, seems caught up in the languor - she is content to
spend long hours snoozing in the shade rather than tearing madly off one
one adventure or another.
I sit here writing in the early morning. I look out my window at the
river and I see the first faint stirring of a breeze that promises to
temper the heat of later on. I see the haze on the hills; there will be
heat and perhaps even a shower later on, but for the moment, all is quiet
and peaceful.In a few minutes, I will stroll up to the garden to see what
might need a bit of attention and then, as the dew dries, I will take a
container and spend an hour or so checking out the raspberry crop. A
little later on, I may have to give the lawnmower a run, or I might return
to the garden. Then it will be back to the house of a light lunch - and
that dreamy, lazy afternoon in the shade.
It is all escape, I know. All too soon, that early morning vista will
bring with it those hints of the changing of the season. However, in the
meantime. I will pretend that these "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer"
will never end - and enjoy the illusion.