Summer’s Ending

Here’s Peekaboo by a stack of firewood.  Not the substantial cuts of hardwood that will heat the place all winter; just a small stack of scavenged kindling that will take the chill off.  I don’t expect to need regular fires for a while; right now, a fire would be an esthetic upgrade.

Since childhood, this has been my experience:  by late August it’s time to light the first fires.  I’ve done this everywhere except Manhattan, which is a sea-level steam-bath.

The last week of August is cool, retrospective, and forward-looking too:  the breath visible in the air, the dew on the orb weaver’s gigantic web, the last roses of summer doggedly blooming on the apothecary’s rose, the hostas in bloom, the bumble bees hard at work.  The bluebirds are back and there are more of them.  The cardinals are bright red and the hummingbirds are so plump they look like wrens.  The copper weathervane on the shed, topped with its proud rooster, points not NNE but to endless possibilities ahead.

All that’s missing from Connecticut summers is a glass of Maple Shade chocolate milk!  (Not to worry:  there are great dairies nearby, and the milk in the fridge is pasteurized but not homogenized, a thick clot of cream right at the top.)

Here, as it’s always been, the latter days of August are a magical, nostalgic season all their own.  The angle of the sun is suddenly steep, and one realizes that the equinox is fast approaching.  The morning sun cuts deep trenches through the woods and lights up the far mountains in yellow.

The design is perfect:  in the dog days of summer, the angle of the sun is such that it misses the kitchen.  In the winter, the kitchen is flooded with light.  It was the same in that small but surprisingly lovable apartment:  the sun was practical in winter, and decorative in summer.  That’s how to site a dwelling.

I try not to remember the last days at the “Brown House” in Connecticut:  it’s not healthy to dwell on the past to the exclusion of new joys.  I similarly try not to get emotional over Indian Lake, for the same reasons.  It’s time to appreciate this magic, right here.

Last night the stargazing was pretty good despite a nearly-full moon.  I investigated Altair, Tarazed, and Alshain, the three “balance stars” of Aquila. The latter two have names in Persian, not Arabic.  A rarity in the astronomer’s vocabulary.

The summer has been late in coming, and a ruthless drought was followed by heavy rain and a very cloudy August.  I was shocked to see how far the Summer Triangle had moved! Mars is up in the evening, and is still stunningly wonderful.  Saturn is at the meridian as it gets dark, but Jupiter is lost in a tangle of tree branches to the southwest.  I can spot Arcturus quite easily through a break.

Soon the plants will have to come indoors:  the orange tree, the hibiscus, the begonias, everything.  The orange is as tall as I am now, and will be a second Christmas tree!



About Jonathan B. Hall

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food. Cat lover, too.
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