Nothing gold can stay

“Have you noticed how summer’s light has changed? The sky is faded-denim blue- so perfectly soft you could live in it forever. I feel that sweet sadness of summer on the wane. I vow to fill the weeks with bike rides, farmers’ markets, ice cream cones, picnics. I will play outside until it’s dark and Mom calls me in for a bath… at least this kid is old enough to end a perfect summer’s day with a bottle of wine.” My Facebook status update last Saturday evening.

While living in the Midwest and in central Washington state, I used to dread the advent of summer. Hot weather and I do not get on well. By the time July oozed in with its asphalt-melting brilliance, I would be sheltered in a fan-blown house, shades drawn by 7 a.m. to keep out the day’s heat. I’d experience the same cabin fever in the deepest, dankest (Midwest) or brown and lifeless (central Washington) heart of summer that some feel at winter’s core.

Never again will I live in a place that measures summer’s progress by a heat index. Never again will a live in a place where the land around me withers to brown and swirls in defeated dust.

Since becoming a Seattleite, summers are a revelation to me. Excepting a few breathless days above 90, I feel embraced by a joyful warmth. I am surrounded by the lush green of trees and gardens, the sparkling azure of water and the hazy slate and crisp white of mountains and their diminishing snow pack.

I feel released into childhood- I can’t wait to get outside, to live in shorts and flip-flops, to bike and walk and run in the light and play catch with the clouds.

Summer weather was late in arriving this year; we entered March and never really left it until the end of June. Now that the light is fading earlier each night, I feel such wistfulness at the waning of summer and an anxious desire to grasp at all that makes this such a season of mindfulness, of living in its warm present. Autumn has always been the season of renewal for me, a time when I could finally breathe easy and relax into the cool caress of harvest nights. But for the first time since my childhood, which I spent in the rain shadow of the Olympic Peninsula, I can celebrate this season wholly and gratefully.

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