September – Summer’s Swan Song

The globe thistle settled nicely into the new north tree and shrub border this summer.

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.

Surprise — a generous gift from Jonathan’s siblings to start his academic year off right!

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.

Camp cooking

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.

S’mores fingers!

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.

Anenome ‘September Charm’

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.

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12 Comments

  1. Kevin
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Love it babe!!!

    Congrats on the new design April.

  2. Angela
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Love the new look!
    I am so thankful to women like you who share so much of yourselves so younger women like me can learn something. I am desperate for guidance from and older Godly woman and your blog is giving me something that I need. Thank you!

  3. Samantha
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    This is the most beautiful post I have ever read. I’m sitting here crying and my children are wondering what is wrong. You have moved me once again to think as you always do. Thank you. It means more than you know.

    • Posted August 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Oh, Samantha, thank you for the kind words. These are the things in my heart right now, that’s all.

  4. Posted August 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I’m glad I’m not the only one crying. Your post took my mind back to this – My Granny passed away on Labor Day many years ago. I had spent the summer as one of her three primary caregivers in rotation round the clock while she needed hospice care at home. The day she passed away, was a gorgeous Indian Summer day. I was working out in the garden plot we kept on her property. I dug up the last of the spindly tomato plants that were wholly spent in the cold climate of MN. I dug out the last of the potatoes. Working in the garden helped give me something to do as we waited for the angels to carry her away. I took a break and went into the house to get some canning jars out of the basement. I stopped in to check on her and my grandfather and she was gone. I always thought it was so incredibly fitting that she died on Labor Day. Revelation 14:13 is the most fitting verse for my amazing Granny and the Godly life that she lived.

    The older I get (and I know you’re going to chide me and say I’m not old), the less enamored I am with fall. Fall is lovely and invigorating but more and more speaks to me of dying. I guess my mortality, and that of those I love so much is becoming more and more real to me. My thrill comes during spring when life begins anew.

    There is something beautiful and comforting about these rhythms in our lives; season after season, year after year. God is good. Always. In every season.

    (And I LOVE your new design! I squealed when I first saw it! I still squeal when I look at your buttons along the top! It’s perfect!)

    • Posted August 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing the wonderful story of your Granny’s passing, Church Mouse. It is beautiful and evocative. I just found out that another man I know died alone in his house a week or so before his body was discovered yesterday. Two of our children went to help, and we talked about the contrast of our friend’s last days and that man’s. Family, blood or “collected,” is such an ADDITIONAL blessing at the end of life on earth. I’m thankful you had that experience, and I’m sure your Granny was, too.

  5. Posted August 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. The seasons of life are amazing to me, and I love to hear the perspective of someone farther down the path. So often I hear people speak of college and other very young times as “the best time of your life”. That always seemed a little sad to me, to think that so early in life the best was already over. And while there certainly is a degree of freedom and possibility and carefree-ness of that time that I expect to never really have again … there is a lot that is lacking at that time of life as well. Sure, there are struggles that come later – but there is also the exhilaration of going through something difficult and coming out stronger on the other side. I guess some of it is the difference between happiness and joy. I kind of imagine (at least what I’ve seen so far – like Heather, I’m young and my perspective is limited) that while early times like college are definitely very “happy”, there is a lot more *joy* to be experienced in the hills and valleys of life afterwards. Thanks for this beautiful post, Lori. :)
    April @ TheFlourishi recently posted..The Big Reveal!My Profile

    • Posted August 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      I think you are wise, April, to recognize that in many ways “the best is yet to come,” or at least “the end is of a thing is better than the beginning.” Really, each age has its benefits and struggles. Best to find the joy and contentment available in each one, as you say.

  6. Posted September 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m one of April’s followers and I just wanted to stop by, take a look around and say hello! It looks great, I bet you are super excited!
    Yvette recently posted..Make your own seed packetsMy Profile

    • Posted September 2, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      I certainly am, Yvette! I’m figuring out where to keep the coffee and how the shower works still, but I’m loving it! Welcome!
      Lori recently posted..September – Summer’s Swan SongMy Profile

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