Summer is winding down. It has been an awfully rich time for my family – a big trip “out west” including a week-long family reunion at Yellowstone National Park to celebrate my parents’ fiftieth anniversary, then home to continue the celebration with a party to honor them, more time with extended family, visits from friends, camps, time alone with The Husband, garden revamp fun (and perfect weather for all the growing things after a strange spring), good health for our parents, cooking at a camp for a week, a wonderful re-design for my blog by April @ The Flourishing Abode (and today is Moving Day — how do you like our new digs?), and getting our second child ready for college.
We find ourselves in that between-the-seasons time, when the days are still muggy and hot but there are occasional chill mornings. The sun arrives noticeably later and exits earlier — we plan an after-dinner walk and find ourselves rushing to catch the sunset up on the cemetery hill. The cicadas still rasp out their shrill song, but by now it seems a bit more subdued, a little tired. The tomatoes are still wonderful, but only a week or two from now they’ll start to decline and taste better cooked instead of raw. The peaches are going out as the apples are come in.
School started this week, and after more than twenty years of homeschooling, I am feeling semi-retired. Our youngest is a senior, but he is taking all dual credit courses through three different colleges/universities, so I am finished with active teaching and operating solely in guidance mode. Although there is some sadness in this ending, there is anticipation, too. I have loved homeschooling my children. It has given me the feeling that we have maximized our time together during their growing years – I have the supreme satisfaction of feeling no regrets about whatever I gave up during that time of heavy-duty, hands-on parenting.
Still, while I never felt that anything really important to me was completely impossible, homeschooling meant I didn’t have hours each day to spend however I chose. Now, I feel some luxury of time and of choice. It is delicious, and I hope to savor it and use it well.
Even so, there is a sense of urgency. Life is uncertain, but it will certainly end. A friend of ours is dying, and apparently his last days have arrived. He is ready to meet God and only hopes his family members’ eyes will be opened to eternal truths as well. That is his swan song.
Summer’s swan song is made up of those lingering cicadas, the crickets, and the rustle of tree leaves already beginning to stiffen. It is in the budding chrysanthemums, the nodding Japanese anemone blooms, and the tomatoes hanging heavy on their vines. It is September: the mental new year for millions of current and former students, the last swims and cook-outs of the season, and for me and our dying friend, the start of something good.