That day in August

I was half cocked that day in August when the light lost its ascendancy. Do you know the day I mean? It happens around the same time as cicadas begin buzzing and throbbing and crickets creak like a thousand wooden rocking chairs on shady wooden porches. I never anticipate what day it will happen. It just happens.

I took the dog out for a walk in the evening and we followed long, low rays of sun sliding through the trees, the light sawed off by branches, pieces of it scattered on the ground, mixed in with shadows. When we got home, white winged moths spiraled around the porch light, entranced by incandescence. They jostled for the spot closest to the stiff flame, twirling, going nowhere.

Before that day in August, dusk reeled in the sun slowly. In the kayak, paddles up, we’d drift on the lake, watching the tallest pine balance the sun like a plate spinner; watching water bugs shimmy in the light glittered water. The only wake coming from my pointer-finger dipped in the water.

After that day, the nights become half-lidded denials: We say: There’s still time to read, to plan, to go, to make, to do. But at bedtime, earlier now, my book falls on my face, mashes my glasses against my eyes and my eyelashes sweep the glass and leave a smear. My head floats in a pool of light but I can’t see my feet in the dark.

Now my bike commute begins in dawn’s murk, the tiny headlamp unfurling a white ribbon on the path, lighting up the yellow line ahead and catching geese roosting on the warm tarmac. They waddle out of the way, hissing at me as I go by.

I can’t remember May or June anymore. I can’t remember their bright nights and birds at full throttle, swallowing flies and worms whole, bobbing for more, and another, again and again. I can’t remember the long reach of the sun’s up stretched arms.

It happens every summer. The day daylight slips away. And every August I am half-cocked. Unwilling. Unready.


35 thoughts on “That day in August

  1. dawnkinster August 26, 2016 / 8:19 am

    I’m not ready either. I’m looking at camping opportunities…should go this week I tell myself, before it gets too cold. It’s too dark in the morning taking the dog out…to dark too soon in the evening. Not ready to let this summer go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne August 26, 2016 / 11:05 am

      It has been a glorious summer with lots of sun – maybe too dry for farmers in our part of the world – but long, long days to putter in the garden, walk, bike, kayak. I’ve always thought camping in the fall would be nice. Fewer crowds, better campsite choice, less bugs but you’re right about it getting dark early. I hadn’t thought of that.


  2. I of July August 26, 2016 / 9:54 am

    Excellent descriptions Sue, lovely pic too. Enjoy the last of the season, we are just entering Spring here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce Goodman August 26, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    Marvellously captured, Susanne. (Which reminds me… I must go out and pick some daffodils!) Your piece made me feel a longing, even though it’s the opposite time of the year here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thecontentedcrafter August 26, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    Stunning writing Susanne! Even here, at the opposite side of the spectrum, I was with you all the way!


    • Susanne August 26, 2016 / 7:35 pm

      It’s nice to think there’s spring somewhere on the planet but I’m still loving August and some of my flowering planters are just now at their best so there’s lots of joy. It’s just a feeling I get this time of year.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner August 26, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    Well, you’ve gone and done it again. Stunning imagery – “watching the tallest pine balance the sun like a plate spinner”. You also remind me of how every August, my grandmother would groan about how early it was getting dark and that winter was coming. Come to think of it, she’d say that already the day after summer solstice. I guess Canada and Germany have a lot in common 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      I guess I have a lot in common with your grandmother because I always start to anticipate the decline the day after the summer solstice too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. joey August 26, 2016 / 11:12 pm

    That was a lovely, evocative piece.
    I, of course, prefer the snow. lol — but then look at how well you wrote that, even I was moved to pine for the end of summer, if only for a few minutes.


    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      Will you pine for the end of winter or do you love spring, too? I like all the seasons but despise the month of November.

      Liked by 1 person

      • joey September 5, 2016 / 8:18 pm

        I get itchy for spring, excited about tulips and time to garden, but I start to resent the summer right about the time other people are really enjoying it.


  7. derrickjknight August 27, 2016 / 7:00 am

    Cleverly evocative. After a gorgeous sky blue yesterday, today is heavy and overcast, and I wish the promised rain would come and offer relief

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:33 pm

      Did you get your longed-for rain? It is sunny and cool here today – fall is definitely coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Osyth August 27, 2016 / 8:24 am

    Beautifully evocation of that inevitable moment that I don’t think anyone is ever willing to be prepared for

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:01 pm

      Now that it’s September, I’m resigned. C’est la vie.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. J.B. Whitmore August 27, 2016 / 11:13 am

    Put on socks this morning to read the paper. Still refusing to get out the winter slippers.

    Gorgeous post.


    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:02 pm

      Thanks, J.B. I was on the wet coast of Canada all last week and socks were required. Today in central Canada there is definitely Autumn in the air and I needed a jacket for my morning walk. I’m better now that it’s September – it’s just that late August angst I find so unsettling.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Rosanna August 29, 2016 / 5:18 am

    This reads like a meditation on things you’ll miss. So lovely, so lyrical as always, Sue. This time you wrote about two of my favorite times during the day – dawn and dusk. As for the end of summer – ours ended three months ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:03 pm

      Yes, dawn and dusk are lovely gentle times of transition and the light is always so soothing.


  11. jbbluesman August 29, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    I dread the beginning of the end of the longer days of sunshine, especially this summer when the days have been so hot that I can’t work in the heat so I have to play in the evening which I love. The people start to come out around 7 pm and go for their evening walks in the cooler temperature they often sit at a bench in front of where I am playing and the game begins.
    But now with the fewer tourists visiting at this time of year and the sun setting earlier fewer of the vendors come out to sell their wares, it makes me sad this beautiful city will be dormant too soon again, then winter will be upon us and I will be fighting to keep my sanity!!
    You’re writing is infectious Susanne look what you made me do!! Loved this piece. (;


    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:08 pm

      You know, Jean, I settle into September easier than accepting the last 2 weeks of August. I guess I’m not good with seasonal transitions and prefer the full-on season. And why turning the page of a calendar can make such a mental difference, I don’t know, but it does so now that the calendar says September I’m much better! But let’s not talk about November, my least favourite month of the year.


  12. Luanne August 30, 2016 / 10:08 am

    Really beautiful, Susanne. You captured it so well, although I don’t get this feeling in Arizona as the weather doesn’t pivot so clearly or meet with such unwillingness. The moment it only gets up to 99-105 instead of much higher creeps us over a few days and then there is a sense of utter relief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      My gosh, I can’t even imagine temperatures of 105 degrees. I feel my gizzard shriveling just thinking about it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne September 5, 2016 / 10:21 am

        Yeah, well, the 118 earlier this summer was what did me in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Susanne September 5, 2016 / 3:12 pm

        Surely that’s the boiling point of blood?! Wow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne September 5, 2016 / 5:23 pm

        Maybe that’s why I am so stuck in quicksand–my blood got too thick with so much of it boiled away.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Ellen Shriner September 3, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Love this blog –such lyrical writing and I know exactly what you mean about “that day in August.” I’ve been feeling it too.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to look up WordSisters and check out some of the blogs–thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      I’m really happy to have found another writer of almost the same vintage who so clearly articulated my struggles/joys in writing and blogging. I am excited to read more! Coincidentally, I also have adopted children so I know I’m going to enjoy your blogging partner’s writing, too.


  14. D. Wallace Peach September 3, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    This is beautiful, Sue. The imagery is luscious and you perfectly capture the markers of the changing season. I notice those two pivot days too – the one in the spring when suddenly it’s light outside as I head out in the morning, and the one in the fall, when I’m first turning on the car lights as I drive home. Autumn is coming early this year out here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 3, 2016 / 7:52 pm

      Thank you, D. We had a beautiful early autumn/late summer day today and it felt good. I do miss the long evenings, though.

      Liked by 1 person

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