Just when I think that I can no longer stand the heat and pulsing humid breath of summer in my face, just when I can no longer bear the light of the sun washing everything bright white, summer begins its departure. I have changed my rhythm to moving very slowly or at least, determinedly, toward whatever destination awaits in the shade where the air does not feel as though it is pushing on me like a wet blanket smothering whatever initiative I had before I left the house. I have portioned my chores into smaller units and no longer feel that I must weed each and every flower bed. The flowers are bending low from heavy rains or turning to rust or just forming heavy seed pods. The goldfinch have eaten most of the zinnias to bristly heads. The butterflies are the only ones who continue to dance like feathers across the lawn. Perhaps it is because they know how short their life is.
The garden holds the fall colors of red and yellow tomatoes and hot peppers and spaghetti squash and beans. The greens are gray and tired or turning to parchment beige. The insects no longer sing happy rhythms. They buzz with intensity like burning saws as though they were beginning the cutting of firewood for the cold nights ahead. All sound is dizzy percussion.
And then it happens. When I wipe my glistening brow as I pause from the harvest and look up at the tree tops and the sky, I notice something so slightly different that I cannot identify what it is. The angle of the sun has changed, the color of the sky is a different blue, and the high tops of the tulip trees begin to fan a cool breeze my way tossing a golden leaf here and there in the process. The cooler air kisses my hot forehead. I now realize that it is summer that has packed her heavy trunk and is dragging it away up the driveway followed by the sound of dried leaves in the wind. Suddenly I miss her and wish she would stay just a little longer.