A Long, Long While From May to December

 

A Long, Long While From May to December

Traveling birds
Traveling birds

Oh, it's a long long while
From May to December
But the days grow short
When you reach September
Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson

Summer is gone. Oh yes, there will be a few more hot and humid days—dog days. As an aside, I always thought (along with many other people) that the “dog days” referred to those hot summer days when even the dogs would lie around on the sidewalks panting. Not so. Originally, the phrase had nothing to do with dogs or hot summer days. Way back in Greek and Roman times, the dog days referred to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens. They occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July-- the hottest time of the year that could bring about fever or even catastrophe.

dog-days

Dog Days

Back to the end of summer. Many profess sadness at summer’s end-- when the water will cease to rise from Buckingham Fountain, the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park will go silent, flip flops will give way to pumps and oxfords, and the gorgeous fruits and vegetables of June, July, and August will be no more. I will not be among them. Oh yes, I do love all of summer’s gifts, but I do not like heat and humidity. In fact, I loathe them. Give me a crisp fall day, or even a blustery winter one and I will not complain. I will welcome the apples and pears that replace peaches and berries; and I will go indoors to listen to symphonic wonders.

Buckingham Fountain in summer

Buckingham Fountain in summer

Concert in Grant Park

Concert in Grant Park

A starry sky

A starry sky

The scent of roses in summer

The scent of roses in summer

Traveling birds

Traveling birds

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, I experienced something of a summer epiphany this year. Whereas before, I would have been more than happy to go from May to September and forget everything in between, that has changed. A few days ago, I learned that a dear friend will probably not be around to experience another summer. In a cruel twist of fate, the dog days, as well as all of the others will be taken from her, and that knowledge makes me sadder than I can say.

It also makes me take a long look at my own life. While none of us can predict our futures, we do expect to have them. We expect to smell lilacs in the spring and roses in summer. We expect to feel the rain and snow upon our faces. We expect to turn on a radio and have music pour forth or a television set and be greeted by images. We expect to hear the wind rattle the windows on a stormy night, and we expect to look up and see the stars when there are no clouds.  We expect to be cheered by the laughter of children and the sight of birds winging across the sky. In other words, we expect there will be tomorrow.

When lilacs are in bloom

When lilacs are in bloom

Children at play

Children at play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this year, when the …”autumn weather turns the leaves to flame,” I will take particular delight in the end and the beginning. I will walk through piles of leaves and, like a child, kick them in the air. I will look with pleasure on a cool, rainy day and sit listening to music with a good book open on my lap. I will put on a jacket and visit the last of the farmers’ markets for apples, squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and pears. I will move from the “summer” to the “fall” section of my cookbooks and dust off my slow cooker and crock pots. I will watch ice skaters in the park and say goodbye Cubs games, hello Bulls matches. (I’m not much of a football or hockey fan). And I will revisit my writing muse for inspiration to fill the long Chicago winters.

Ice skating in Millenium Park

Ice skating in Millenium Park

 

 

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls

It’s all good.

 

 

Leave a comment