Summer’s End

School is out for the summer, but not for much longer.

The days grow short, the nights shine sweet crystal, cool under fulsome moons. Bare armed with glass raised high, we toast midnight relief from saturated days, leaning back into night’s caress.

In stealth, grass sharpens to a brittle green, crinkly thatch steepling with pale fingers, pressing through to thin blue sky, clouds above scratching like a dry cough.

Ripening explosions of colors arise, the final exhalation of summer’s passion. This can last for weeks. Or for mere days. Clouds gather in dark brows overhead, sometimes fill the sky for days on end before shrugging and letting go.

We zip into sweaters and tie off heavy, bruising hiking boots, all to forestall the death of autumn. Crisp leaves drop and gather in piles on lawn and sidewalks as we labor, with drumming feet, at hopeful melodies.

The leaves have their own songs, tipping and rattling, whirling with the wind. Rain decides by whimsy and cold spontaneity when this season ends, and the long wait for the white silence of winter begins.

Red and gold bleed to slate and gray, the subtle warmth of taupe and brown when the sun breaks through. Hidden rivers are revealed through denuded trees, the sky stretching larger and thinner as days become shorter.

We hunch our shoulders into wind-resistant jackets, pull on gloves and hats, and carefully note the plenitude of texture in coniferous and evergreen, the white shine of ice and the slash of dark water that resists the pull of the coming stillness.

But winter is months away. We have time enough to revel with fleet-footed summer, before slowing to mindful awareness, to transform present moment into the unique joy of winter’s dark cape.

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2017)

(based on Midtown Writers’ 2 minutes on “School was out for the summer”)

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