A sure sign of fall creeping in is the hum of cicadas on morning walks.
The sun inches more southerly on the horizon.
The corn grows taller, paling to a warm golden brown near the ground.
And along with their ribboned projects, 4H-ers tuck away their pride and smiles.
As the bare-toed freedom of summer sizzles to a close, our minds switch gears to calendars, plans and obligations, threatening to overshadow the decompression of the heart brought on by carefree summer days. The down days embolden us with creativity, forgotten recesses of the mind inspired by months of space for imagination, which buoy the spirits of children — and all of us — apprehensive about the knuckle-down energy needed for studies.
Harvesting dreams rooted in the thick humidity of summer and using them throughout the year is a challenge. Schedules push in and threaten to render us incapable of cherishing quiet moments. We forget to take time to watch hummingbirds sip their last fill from butterfly bushes and listen to the seasonal insect change-of-guard, small moments which bathe the heart with much-needed respite from the orderly chaos of our spinning worlds.
One of my favorite poems is “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams. Sixteen words form a powerfully simplistic image, which never fails to fill my mind with life and color when I read it.
So it ought to be with the close of summer. It doesn’t take the Odyssean to make a lasting mark upon the heart. The best slices of life are often the austere.
Diving into the traffic of everyone rushing to stores, gathering up supplies, checking off lists and filling calendar pages, our challenge will be to remember to keep the edges of our dreams raw and ready; to use the pale blue lines of notebook paper as guidelines, not as rules; and to consider that a big, white bottle of glue can go a long way in affixing newly discovered hope to tangible futures.