How I learned to love August
I wrote this several a few years ago. It’s still one of my favorites.
August used to be my absolute most hated month of the whole year.
July was all popsicles, water slides and fireworks, but the moment the calendar turned over, a sense a dread settled in my stomach. A big old circle around a certain date gave full notice that my wild and carefree days were numbered. Literally.
Whatever fun could have been wrung out of the fading days of summer were overshadowed by the looming deadline. We still slept late, played games and tried to be as lazy as humanly possible, but it all had a sense of desperation. It wasn’t summer any more, it was August. Hot, stifling and lifeless. In other words: school.
Even the word sounded like coughing up a hairball. August.
After I graduated from college, I turned the calendar over to August and marveled that for the first time in 18 years, there was no drop-dead date circled in red. Then I looked closer. There really wasn’t much of anything on the calendar for August.
And I made the most delightful discovery: August is awesome!
This is the month when schedules slow down and it’s too hot to do anything much beside sip iced tea and read a good book.
The grass gets overtaken by the heat so I only have to mow every other week. Cheery wildflowers bloom with abandon on the side of the road. The hillsides have taken on varying shades of green and yellow and tan, a relief to the eye after the monotonous shade of summer. Sometimes a hint of a cool breeze stirs the air.
The garden offers up an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, zucchini and more zucchini. Reruns are the only thing on TV, so you might as well as go outside with a piece of watermelon and spit the seeds over the porch railing while the cicadas drone.
Vacation is over, as is the county fair, Bible school, family reunions, hay baling and the ambitious summer to-do list. Either the projects are done or the list is discarded. This is not a time for starting projects; this is a time for taking naps in front of the fan.
The songs on the radio are all familiar since no one introduces new singles in August. No movies at the theater are must-see, although a cheap movie may be in order just for the sake of sitting in the cool and dark for two hours when the heat index approaches 112.
If I get a burst of energy, I may upload some pictures from summer adventures to Facebook. Then again, why work up a sweat? My wardrobe of choice has dwindled to a pair of denim shorts, a souvenir T-shirt and – when shoes are absolutely necessary – flip flops.
August is that moment at the top of the swing. Your legs pump back and forth, the old chains creak on the swing set and you push forward. Just when you’ve gone as high as you can possibly go, the swing pauses for one magic moment. Your heart swells in your chest as you float in a blue sky. The world stretches out pure and perfect beneath you. Then you catch your breath and fall back and have to start working again.
August is a 31-day pause in the middle of the year for us to rediscover simple pleasures. It is the taste of tree-ripened peaches, wild plums and homemade salsa. It’s not quite summer, it’s not quite fall, it’s just hot and that hammock is calling my name.
The best thing about not being in school is I don’t have to go back to school. I understand the agony teachers and students are experiencing, but this is one month when it’s good to be a grown up. I may just sleep in the first day of school because I can. Because it’s August.
August – love it or hate it?