The other day a friend walked over for a casual visit and we chatted about how quickly the summer was passing by. After our rough Minnesota winter (almost 100 inches of snow) we got caught up in the usual banter reserved for those who live here. We deserve a beautiful long summer with idyllic warm days and brilliant evenings after we suffered through blizzards, below zero temperatures and icy roads with commutes that require copious amounts of both patience and caffeine.
Summer goes so fast that we quickly plant our gardens lest we miss out on the short growing season. And then, of course, we are visited with too much or too little rain, and must observe our plants carefully to watch for beetles, mites, pesky rabbits and hungry deer.
Before we got too serious complaining, we laughed as we realized that we should take time to live each day to the fullest, as summer is so fleeting. Indeed, now that we are approaching mid-August, our Sunday night of the summer is upon us.
I’m not sure who first described August that way—but it fits in my experience. Those of us living in four-season climates do tend to hype the summer as a special time of year. As early as March conversations turn to “what are your plans for the summer?” as if it was a new opportunity every year to fill with exciting adventures.
Summer fun and travel often means June and July and a bit of early August, as by mid-August planning for fall must begin. Back-to-school shopping is the trumpet call of the coming season.
Hopefully, there are a couple of weeks in there when our schedules are not packed with summer fun and back-to-school prep when we can stop for some rest and relaxation— living in the moment, watching for the first signs of seasonal change, maybe noticing the vigor of the squirrels hunting for nuts or, in my world, listening to the black walnuts drop onto my roof.
My own schedule was filled close to frenzy until now. My first novel, A Better Next, was published late May and I did my best to give it a good start with book events in town and out of town, and hustling to get more on the calendar. Summer also included spending time with family including a fun road trip and hosting friends here and there.
I’ve slowed my pace these past couple of weeks to re-energize my body and mind.
Part of my R & R has been reading of course. I chose books that were not part of my Book Club list, or even books in my genre, but books that were gentle reads, that felt like an indulgence.
Ivan Doig’s book Last Bus to Wisdom was a joy. A total immersion in what it would be like to be a 13 year old boy in free-fall with his future up in the air. Doig does a masterful job of teaming him up with absolutely delightful characters that make for a humorous and uplifting story.
I’ve promised myself to read the Louise Penny books featuring Inspector Gamache and I devoured the second in the series. A Fatal Grace is a cozy mystery that pulled me in and didn’t let me go for three days. Pure delight!
September beckons with my priority to get back to the second draft on novel #2. I need to be ready. I will be— the Minnesota State Fair opens in just a few days….time to revel in the great Minnesota get-together !
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