I love late summer.
I'm probably not alone or unique in my adoration of this particular part of the season. But I love it for its glimpse of the future and its rather steadfast hold on the present. Right now, as I type, the kids are playing outside with jackets on. And shorts. In an hour or so, the kids will abandon them, leaving outerwear strewn on the deck as the summer sun does its job.
We've dug out the blankets: Hannah with her baby quilt that doesn't even cover her body when it's stretched out lengthwise, and Lillian, with her crocheted orange blanket made by her great-grandmother. In the mornings now, we might need them. With windows open, the house feels pleasantly chilled when we wake.
And I like this dichotomy. The need to cover-up and the need to shed. Cold and warmth, all in the span of a day.
The kids still have a sense of their freedom, and I suppose in a few days, the changing of the calendar to September might put a damper on that. But now they play with zero sense of impending doom. Now they play like it's June.
This weekend, with more heat approaching, we'll probably see friends and grill. And also find a place to stack the gigantic pile of firewood. The sun gives off signs of its impending hibernation. It hangs around less, its visits truncated. When it goes away, we light fires. And sit by them. We go through firewood like candy, and usually, when we go to bed, there are still embers glowing orange.
I look forward to this, but knowing I'll miss the particular fire of the sun.
We still have some trips to go. An amusement park up North. Ocean City, NJ. We go when everyone else leaves. We shun long lines and crowds. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'll miss summer, the kids driving me insane, the heat, a relatively unfettered schedule. I'll miss an outside welcoming and accessible, Coronas with a wedge of tart lime, people walking by. I'll miss iced coffee. I'll miss the trees, full and vibrant and green.
But there's still something about the bare tree, stately in its exposure. A group of them, all packed in together, as if for warmth, does something to my heart.
Skeletal in the waning light, the winter-bare tree merely goes to bed early. It's right there with us. Waiting for the sun.