A retired English teacher, I reflect on the many facets of my life: retirement, reading, writing, gardening, faith, parenting adult children, grandchildren, loss, grief, healing from grief, surviving the loss of a loved one by suicide, hair loss, alopecia, aging, and living life at the foot of the Rocky mountains.
On a Sunday morning in late August, sidewalk art caught my eye. Even though it seemed a bit crazy to do, I stopped to take a photo of an image that provided me with a metaphoric representation of a message I have been unwilling to accept: Summer is fading away.
The faded sidewalk art must have been so bright and colorful on the day that an unknown artist brightened up a bit of sidewalk by painting a sunflower. I imagined the artist painting the flower in anticipation of an upcoming festival at the beginning of the summer. Since that day, many feet have passed over the painted flower throughout the summer. Its brightness has faded as the paint was slowly chipped way to leave only a faint rendering of the original image.
Artists do not paint on sidewalks if they wish the art they are making to last long. As I age, I find that like temporary sidewalk art, I am very aware that summer seems to be the most fleeting of all the seasons. It is also the season I most wish to extend. I wish to deny that another summer is ending which means that the days ahead will be less full of sunshine, flowers, and warmth.
Flowers can't bloom forever. For everything there is a season. I can't deny that truth. I am grateful for each season of the year. Each is needed in the cycle of life where I live. I would not want to live where I wouldn't be able to enjoy the changes that each season brings. I am also grateful for each season of life, but as I age, I find myself asking myself how many more summers I will have where I will be able to do all those things that make summer so special.
Summer ~ A Time to Be Outdoors
I live at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. My walks, while healthy for my body, are even more beneficial for mental health.
In the evening, as the sun begins to set, I see some spectacular sights. Ending a day gazing at a sky filled with light and shadow reminds me that while I might have experienced both light and shadow throughout the day, it is the light that not shine through but also lifts my eyes upward. Light pierces the darkness as the day ends, and my soul finds peace as I reflect up the message of hope that shines brightly before my very eyes.
Each day I look for opportunities for finding the silver lining behind every dark cloud. We just have look for those silver linings. I've found that I usually can find them in every situation.
I share my daytime walks with the many wildlife creatures that live near my home. I never know what creature I may encounter along the way. Can you see a doe poking her head between these walls and houses as she searches for food or shelter?
As I got closer to this sweet little doe, she seemed so small and vulnerable as she stood behind some bushes. I noted her skinny little legs and inquired as to her health. She just watched me with her soft doe eyes as I passed by without making any comment or movement. I do hope she is well.
As much as I fret and fume over the damage the deer do, I also feel so much compassion for these beautiful creatures who find themselves living in an urban setting which is really not healthy for them.
Summer ~ A Time for Creativity
As with every summer, I began this summer with high hopes for the small garden plots I worked to create around the perimeters of my house. The grasshoppers, the slugs, the rabbits, and the deer all have feasted on my plantings. Needless to say, my impossible garden did not live up to my expectations, nor did I see my dreams of flower blooming around my house realized. I did manage to get one bouquet from the delphiniums I planted before the bucks showed up and ate the plants down to the ground. These blooms represent a victory of sorts and my determination that I will grow flowers in this environment that seems to be set against me doing so.
Many evenings and afternoons were spent on the back deck writing in my journal or reading. I love summer evenings spent in the quiet solitude provided by my back deck.
Summer ~ A Time To Enjoy My Man & My Dog
I do think dogs enrich our lives so much. This special companion is so loved by us both, but there is no denying that Boston is Jim's special boy. We love taking him for walks. We are all three getting older, and sadly Boston has developed a limp due to hip dysplasia. The vet says he must lose some weight. Hmmmm. The doctor told us the same thing, so we all three must keep up the walks and start limiting the food.
Summer ~ A Time for Limited Structure to Schedules
In summer, I find I return to the types of schedules I liked to keep when I was teaching and summer vacation finally rolled around. I like to read fluffy novels that keep me up late at night. I love going to bed late. I like sleeping with the windows open so I can feel the cool mountain breeze flow down through the valley where we live and through our bedroom as we sleep. I love being awakened by the chimes from Mount St. Francis a mile from my home. I love not having a strict schedule. I have purposed having a healing, relaxing, and mostly stress free summer.
I accomplished that by spending a lot of time right here on my very own front patio.
Summers spent with those you love most in settings that bring joy and peace are the very best kinds of summer to have.