Wednesday, August 14, 2013

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date”

            Chilled by a cool morning breeze this lovely mid-August day, I realize that the season is fading fast and, indeed, “summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” in the immortal words of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. Then, as the sun warms the air, I’m reminded once again that every day’s a blessing, and I am astonished at the beauty all about me. It’s found, mostly, in the little things, the small unheralded moments of joy, like the medley of birdsong that greets the promise of the day. The warble of a thrush, the subdued cooing of the mourning doves, the dit, dit, dit of the cardinal as if tapping out some Morse code to announce the glory of this day.

            Sometimes the beauty is found in the scarlet splendor of a cyclamen blooming anew amid its lush green foliage in a window pot. Or in the trembling glimmer of sunlight that plays upon the leaves of the chokecherry tree in the yard. Then, later, in the stubborn sway and tussle of the branches as clouds obscure the sun and a late summer wind sweeps by.

            At times, the shrill cries of children at play outside or the jingle of the ice cream truck triggers warm memories of earlier times on those same roads. As the day wanes in the lazy, languorous way of summer, the late afternoon sun casts a soft sepia tint upon the houses and lawns, the privets and trees, and soon the shouts of the children fade with the evening. Then—earlier now, around 8:30 or so—a soft glow appears in the neighborhood windows as dusk gives way to dark and the katydids begin their raucous overture to the night.

            The days grow perceptibly shorter now, and we ease our way toward the end of summer, the Labor Day weekend and the return to school. Pre-season football is back, while the Yankees faithful cling to the hope of a wild card berth. Soon it will be time to gather wood. Already some leaves, as if weary of clinging to their branches any longer, drift to the earth, a harbinger of the Autumn that awaits us just around the bend. And some nights in the suburbs even dip into the forties.

             While summer, in fact, will last until the Autumn equinox on September 22nd, still more than five weeks away now, we know that is just a calendar fact, that psychic summer ends much sooner. Yet there is so much beauty still to behold. It is to be found every day, in the little things.