A change in the weather


08.22.14  Everybody’s talking about the end of Summer.  Of course, there is a change of light in August and the days are getting shorter.   But, to have record low temperatures, record rainfall, and snow above 6500 feet is unsettling, abrupt, unnerving.    After adding fertilizer to the geraniums, in hopes of one last burst of red, I went to bed last night with wool socks on my feet.  There is over a week remaining in the month of August.  Whatever happened to Summer?

Somewhere, there are old family photos of us at the Chesapeake Bay, my Dad raking up a horse shell crab in shallow water,  but I don’t really remember it.   Sarah has lived in DC for many years, but has never been inclined to go to the Bay.  Our friend, John, has rich memories of renting a house with his mother and extended family on the Chesapeake in the summers, when he lived in Pennsylvania.  Maybe that’s why this morning’s poem by Maxine Kumin, on Writer’s Almanac ,caught my eye.   While the context of her poem may be the Chesapeake Bay, all day, in our cool air, the early sunset, I felt her dismay and loss of Summer.  After such intense focus, the responsibility, the hugs and kisses, whatever happened to summer.

The Lower Chesapeake Bay, by Maxine Kumin

Whatever happened to the cross-chest carry,
the head carry, the hair carry,

the tired-swimmer-put-your-hands-on-my-shoulders-
and-look-in-my-eyes retrieval, and what

became of the stride jump when you leap
from impossible heights and land with your head

above water so that you never lose sight
of your drowning person, or if he is close enough, where

is the lifesaver ring attached to a rope
you can hurl at your quarry, then haul

him to safety, or as a last resort
where is the dock onto which you tug

the unconscious soul, place him facedown,
clear his mouth, sraddle his legs and press

with your hands on both sides of his rib cage
to the rhythm of out goes the bad air in

comes the good and pray he will breathe,
hallowed methods we practiced over and over

the summer I turned eighteen to win
my Water Safety Instructor’s badge

and where is the boy from Ephrata, PA
I made out with night after night in the lee

of the rotting boathouse at a small dank camp
on the lower Chesapeake Bay?


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