Leaving Summer

The Last Bowl of Peaches

Summer takes its leave in gradual steps. We turn the corner into September and school, thinking we are done. The air, perishingly hot before, cools dramatically enough that we sigh with delight. The first browning leaves fall to the deck. Windows open to the night breeze. We think of busyness and hurry on to the ‘things needing doing’ time of year.

But summer haunts us, its trail of cobwebs sticking to our faces as we move forward. The last really hot day reminds us of the record breaking heat of July. An athlete preparing for a game slathers on suntan lotion, and we find ourselves staring as ghosts at the sunny beach of June. The locust song, a wall of sound, rises and falls like the most effulgent days in August. Their silence comes quickly, but not yet.

Each year the leave-taking seems to take longer. Clearing out my mind of the slowness of each day, the deliciousness of breakfast on the deck, a swim mid-morning in a lane by myself at the pool, a book in the wrought iron rocker in the afternoon, and the incandescence of the late sun, still light well into evening.  I want to wrap the season around me again.

But now, the cool day follows the cool night. The locust cry no more. And at last, the real end of summer comes: the last peaches arrive. The Farmer’s Market on Fernwood still has bushels of large, ripe peaches in September, right next to the honeycrisp apples just coming into season. Summer overlaid by Fall. Some years, the peaches last almost to the end of the month. This year, here they are, already. Before I am quite ready. The last bowl of peaches sits on the kitchen counter. I have two left. The honeycrisps await, but nothing rivals the summer glory in each bite of the last peach. But onto fall we must go.

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