08.15.14 Summer is slipping away now. We’ve had several days of passing T-storms, light rain spells, and the high temperature forecasted for today is only 74 degrees. We’ll be back into the 80’s next week, but I know it will feel different in this waning of August. It’s dark in the mornings when I wake up, and going to bed at 9:30 isn’t so blasphemous. Sarah and Nick go home tomorrow, and it’s been quiet and relaxing without the 17-strong group of grandkids, their parents, the friends.
Yesterday, I walked along the beach and put away water shoes and beach toys left on the rocks. It reminded me of how I’d instruct each going-off-to-college daughter to put her keepsakes into a foot locker, and the first thing I did when she was gone, was clean and scour her bedroom. It was some sort of necessary ritual I needed in order to make the transition from what had been, and to clean the slate for the future. I remembered the cancer summer, when I lived in Denver for treatment that record-hot July and August. The grandkids had just left after their summer lake visit, and Sarah flew in to drive down with me to Denver, and help me get settled at my sister’s house. When I returned home in September, all the buckets and shovels, fishing nets and baby water shoes, were strewn on the rocks. Don had never gone down to put them away, frozen, as he was that summer. I cried furious tears. It felt like an open wound to see those reminders of the summer I’d lost, and the summers I might forever lose. It was already beautiful Fall, so much more melancholy than most, and I struggled to make the transition from Summer. A metaphor, of course, for the profound transition I was making in the course of my life.
There are fragments of the family visit all about the house. Cormac’s broken watch band is on the coffee table and Eamon’s little stuffed ducky still sits on top the blue vase–the surprise he made for me. When I go down to the freezer in the basement, bean bag chairs and the little red and green kids’ chairs, are still lined up along the ping-pong table, prime viewing for the double elimination tournament. The score sheet is lying on the floor. A steno pad in the kitchen is full of pages in Fletcher’s neat handwriting where he recorded the calendar of activities for the week, and the elaborate grids he made for taking BBQ and drinks orders. Sarah offered to help me remake the guest room beds and put them back in order, but I told her that can all wait until after they’ve gone home. I will need that transition time next week, saving the room she and Nick are staying in for last. At the end of it, another Summer will be gone.