August is the only month out of the year that makes my stomach tighten. Each day shortens by 2 minutes towards the fall equinox as the sunlight streaks at a slightly lower angle turning the sky a deeper shade of blue. Time seems to spring to action, slipping away at a quicker pace like the March hare and I can almost hear his pocket watch tick-tocking long after he has disappeared down the rabbit hole.
Soon the rumble of yellow busses filled with excited children anticipating another school year will replace the jingle of ice cream trucks. My house will be empty again as my children move into new apartments and begin their fall semester in college.
When I gaze out at my verdant back yard, a prism of colors dance in the summer sun. I realize after months of frenzied growth, the trees will soon be stripped bare and all the plants will begin to yawn, then fall asleep, hibernating until next spring.
Instead of letting it all slip through my fingers like the white sand of the Aruban beach we visited this summer, I am taking charge of what time I have left and am making a list. Not just an ordinary list of things to do like edge the lawn before it creeps so far into my garden beds the flowers are suffocated in their sleep, pull the weeds whose roots seem to go to China, or give the hedges a haircut since their geometric shape has taken on a dreadlock appearance. What I am talking about is:
A List of Things to Do before Summer Ends
#1. Open up the windows in the early morning and let the last of the summer sunshine in! There is nothing like filling the house with fresh air as the sun rises. The dewy ground will prevent the dust from blowing in as well. Make sure to use screens. You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to a strange buzzing in your ear or worse, the flapping of bat wings!
#2. Go on a bike ride. Even if you don’t go far, you will get some exercise, take in the green summer vistas, and fill your lungs with the fragrance of summer’s flowering gardens. You don’t have the leg power? Rent a bicycle-built-for-two and find a muscular partner to take up the helm!
#3. Go on a stay-cation if not in your own town, one nearby. Check out the sites and museums in your area online and then explore a couple. Afterward, treat yourself to lunch or dinner (preferably outside), like you would if you were on a real vacation. Unless you brown bag it on your vacations. Then live large.
#4. Have a meal al fresco. Pretend it is the 1800’s. Go to a park, spread a tablecloth over the lush grass and use real silverware, plates and glasses. Pack some hors d’oeuvres, finger sandwiches, and cake for dessert. Pop a cork and toast to this summer’s bounty. Bring your badminton set, bocce ball, croquet, horseshoes, or jarts. Warning – Do not aim at your opponent’s leg even if he/she is beating you!
#5. Find a shady spot near a lake, river, or pool and read a book or magazine. When my children were young, I used to take them to a swimming pool for a couple of hours. They would play in the cool water where they would wear themselves out in front of a watchful life guard while I had some “me” time. I can still have some “me” time, can’t I? Hey, I might even cannonball in to cool myself off too!
#6. Trek someplace new. My husband and I recently took a hike called North Ten Mile in Frisco, Colorado. This summer has been so unusually cool and wet the growing season has been shortened. We encountered wild flowers blooming like a psychedelic carpet on the forest floor. The only problem is it continues to be wet, so we had to sprint back down to the car to prevent being struck by lightning.
#7. Go to a farmer’s market and buy fresh produce, and then prepare a dinner of roasted vegetables, pasta, and fresh salad. Pretend you are in a scene from a book written by Peter Mayle or Francis Mayes.
#8. Pack a picnic basket and go to an outdoor concert. There is still time! Check your local listings for a schedule. Out here in Boulder they run until the end of August. This is a great way to see old friends and make new ones! Just don’t be that rocker who frolics in front of the stage thinking you should be the next contestant on, “So You Think You Can Dance.”
#9. Go out stalking. Capture summer on film so you can enjoy your memories throughout the winter months. You don’t need an expensive camera to do this. Just point, shoot and then share your photos with your family and friends! Don’t take stalking too far and photograph your neighbor sunbathing on a lounge chair.
#10. Attend a summer festival. Live like a kid again and buy a brat, a hotdog, or a grilled ear of sweet corn. Then kick back and relax absorbing everything it has to offer. Usually local bands play as you saunter by art and craft shows. Bring some antacids in case you “eat” like a kid again.
This should keep you busy until the days grow short and the air turns crisp. Oh, look at the time! I need to open a window, ride my bike to the museum, eat a picnic lunch, relax near the lake and read a book for a while, take a hike, stop at the farmer’s market to pick out fresh vegies for dinner, and then attend this evening’s concert. I will carry my camera in my pocket so I can record the last day of summer’s events. That should do it. Whew! After the festival I attend this upcoming weekend, I will begin my list for fall which begins at 9:04 AM on September 23rd!
Do you have any plans for the last days of summer?
Photos by S. Lindau