Not a fan of August

At first glance, I am not a fan of August. In fact, August may be my least favourite month, though February may run a close second.
August feels like a month of shifting; the heat seems less intense, the bugs less vigorous, the days begin to shrink more noticeably, and I can feel a sadness creep up my spine that says summer is trying to get away—trying to sneak out the back door—even though I called out to August asking it to stay.
The slower pace of July loses its steady relaxed beat and seems to quicken. Back-to-school sales are shouting at us at the top of their lungs and good grief, Hallowe’en costumes already are out in some stores.
Stop, I want to shout, holding my hand up like a traffic cop. I want summer to linger, the sunshine to languish, the cool breeze to wander over me. I don’t want summer to hurry; to scurry off and hide.
August mornings are cooler than their July counterparts. The dew is heavier and appears like cotton gauze over the grass, adding a soft shimmer to things when the morning light bounces off it.
August also can seem dried out, all the green faded by July heat, lawns looking parched, with mouths open for a cool drink, and the cicadas begin to sing with their high-pitched whining voices—a sound that should be reserved for dusty ghost-towns.
August can be melancholy if I let it; the melancholy of preparation to leave, back to school, back to routine, back to being older.
I never wanted my girls to go back to school; never wanted to lose the freedom of summer, the freedom to just be. I clung to August with my fingernails and teeth clenched, resisted watching the weeks skip by.
It was Aug. 3 and then it was Aug. 16 and then August was gone, in hardly more than a heart-beat, me staring after it, wondering what I had done wrong to offend August somehow, unintentionally making August leave in such a hurry.
August can be a month of why bothers. It’s too late now to get that fence repaired and painted. The grass is winning the claim to the driveway. The hornets have out-smarted us and built their nests where they wanted to.
August can be a month of collapsing in the hammock—all the good intentions driven off.
On the up side, I love the back-to-school nature of the end of August. I love freshly-sharpened pencils and fresh notebooks and erasers and file folders and project covers.
I like to open the top drawer of my desk and see paper clips and post-it notes, and any number of things placed neatly in order. It is comforting, as if I might be prepared should there be an office apocalypse.
When I need a pick-me-up, I stroll the aisles of an office supply store and am instantly rejuvenated. I scan the pens for a perfect scribing device; I admire the firm unblemished erasers.
August is the perfect month to find treasures I might not have thought of. I might even buy a new ruler this year. For what? For straight lines, of course, should I have the need to draw a straight line on my work, under a title, the heading of a list, a line to indicate a direction.
One never knows when one will need a straight line.
If I were to find the perfect pen and started a new list of fall propositions, the summer energy can be restored into something else—something stronger and wiser and more determined. All I need now is the perfect book to start my lists in.
Which journal am I willing to sacrifice? The dark green one with the leather-ish cover, soft and padded? No, I best save that for some memoir writing or my next novel.
What about the blue journal with the gold engraving on the front that says “Daily Thoughts”? That might be a good connection. But what if I need it for some special writing down the road.
Perhaps a new one. Perhaps I need a new journal—on sale, of course—for back to school.
wendistewart@live.ca

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