It's August. Even though I think of August--always have--as still high summer, you can see the end in sight. I have made a note on my little calendar, counting down to school, that says, "*start preparing." That note is more than a week away. School starting is two weeks away. I am putting things off. I am trying to make these days last.
I have, without exactly saying so, made quiet the object of my seeking. Without exactly acknowledging it, I have been unfolding, letting my mind wander. I think that's what the morning out in the backyard is about. This morning I listened to the traffic beyond the field, and a rooster that was crowing rather late, and the breeze, and the wind chimes. That's noise, but it didn't feel noisy. It felt still. Whatever business it contained was far away from me.
My son, the youngest, is leaving for China in a few weeks. "Twenty days," he says, precisely. He'll be there a year, and maybe longer. Without making a big deal about it, I want to be around to help with whatever would be helpful, but also just to appreciate the house, our household, with him in it. The flux of his friends coming and going. The chance to go to a movie or eat something together. I felt the same way about my older son moving to Tempe for grad school. Not that I was crucial to any part of their plans, but I wanted to be there to help, and to have the occasions to be with them. I count it one of the best parts of this summer that I could go with them to Arizona, to help get them moved in and to see their new place, the start of their new life. How lucky that was, to be able to do that.
When I think of this summer, I will remember that we went to Scotland and spent two wonderful weeks there. This is the summer I listened to Daft Punk almost all summer, on and off, in Scotland and England, here and in Arizona. This is the summer I visited my oldest friend in Sonoma County. This is the summer I drove to Arizona with my son and his family and my youngest son as well. This is the summer I watched The Killing and Top of the Lake and Justified. This is the summer I read The Woman Upstairs and Ender's Game. This is the summer I spent time with most of my children and grandchildren. This summer, I spent time with my friends, did some writing, kept quiet time nearly every day.
Between now and when I go back to work, I hope to work on my second manuscript, write a poem or two, and make a couple of video projects. I want to buy and eat more watermelons. I have been eating the most wonderful strawberries from the farmer's market--I hope there are more of those. I want to make a pie, and preferably more than one pie. I hope to sit on my porch every morning and dream a little. I like spending time watching Justified with the historian, and I hope to do more of that. I don't see any reason not to think of these last summer days as infinitely elastic: I want them to extend and expand to contain all the beautiful morning and evening light, the little gray bird that landed on a branch of the cherry tree this morning, the wind sifting in the chimes, the drift of my thought, the culmination of my efforts, and the steady hand of quiet that has sustained and held me all these weeks.