Dear Diary


journal page -8/3/07
August has always marked a shift in my sensibilities. I feel wistful; I know summer is winding down, even in all its ripe glory. June and July are full of promise, extending towards an invisible horizon like some long highway across the plains. The road seems endless, I’m free to drive fast or slow, and the destination isn’t important. And then suddenly I arrive, covered in road dust with my hair in snarls, at August.

Once upon a time, when I and my siblings were little, our family would spend each July in Montauk in a little yellow cottage on the Block Island Sound. Our days revolved around sand, sun and sea, and our lullaby at night was the lapping or crashing of waves on the shore. It truly was blissful… and the memories of those summers are among those I revisit when I need to go to a “happy place.”

I also remember so vividly the sensation of returning from a month at the seashore and experiencing the August closeness of our backyard. After the free expanse of beaches and dunes and seagrass, everything seemed overgrown and overripe. The air was scented with rotting apples that lay beneath their tree, and inevitably I would step on one and feel it squish between the toes of my bare feet. And the noise! Crickets, cicadas, all manner of wing-strummers filled the space with a din that rose in crescendos over and over, the ocean waves replaced by waves of insect sounds.

This year, instead of allowing that melancholy of ending summer to taint my days, I am appreciating some of the wonders of August – the hundreds of birds flying though the forest, taking care of their families… the huge crows that land in my driveway and walk around in pairs like old folks on a boardwalk… the doe and her her two fawns who allowed us to pull up beside them at the side of the road and look at them for quite a long time before darting back into the woods… the delicious fresh fruit and vegetables that fill the farmers’ markets… the early morning walks with my dog watching the sun come up and filter through the trees… noticing the colors and the lights and the darks of the world around me…

Each day is a gift. Even in August.

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