Farewell to Summer

On Friday, my husband and I finished the big clean-up job for the tree that fell. On Saturday morning, we took the opportunity to do some trimming around the yard. We used the big loppers that our neighbor loaned us to help out with tree debris removal to whack the rhododendrons, which have grown tall and bushy, and are starting to block our window views.

It isn't the right time of year to do that, of course, but the loppers were here and we put them to good use before we have to give them back. (Note to self: gotta get me some of THEM! Also: does it mean you are really an adult now, when you covet thy neighbor's loppers? I think . . . it does.)

We decided we'd have a quick lunch at Burger King and then head up into the hills to a swimming hole we know for a luxurious afternoon swim, our first swim there of this summer. We'd take our chairs and our tunes and our swim fins and have a great time.

As we sat down at the Burger King to enjoy a fine lunch of a pair of whopper juniors and two small fries, I surveyed myself: bruised, scraped, and sore in just above every place I could think of, and a few I didn't realize I even had. I pulled a twig out of my hair and found a new scrape behind my left ear. BEHIND MY EAR. HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN? "I think I might be too tired and sore to HAVE any fun," I said.

But then, when we got to ye olde swimming hole, we carried our stuff in, set up our chairs, put on some music, slid into our swim fins, and hit the water. It was not as cold as Greenwood Furnace but not as warm as Bald Eagle State Park. Somewhere medium, in between.

In my swim fins, I swam strong, like a little mermaid, back and forth across the pond. And when I got tired, I floated on the silent waters, my face to the sky, content and happy, living in the now; mindful, as they say, of the present moment, because really, there is no other one that exists.

One of the cool things about exploring the woods and waters of central Pennsylvania is the diversity of life you will see here. There were tiny fish and huge tadpoles in the water. The grass was just LOADED with grasshoppers, maybe more than I've ever seen anywhere. They rose in clouds before us as we walked along the shore.

And there was one clutching a green plant right in front of me. I took at least a dozen pictures of it before I caught the shot I wanted: you may see that photo of its ancient, craggy face in the extras. ("Is it even ALIVE?" my husband asked. To be truthful, I do not know!)

When we finished our swim, we walked around the pond's edge and over to a small pavilion on the other side. As we approached the edge, amphibians jumped. "EEP!" and then *leap!*  And suddenly one of the biggest bullfrogs I've ever seen jumped, and it ran across the top of the water - just like Jesus, only faster - before it plunged into the depths. I may have never even SEEN such a thing!

The end of August always feels like the end of summer to me. With the Labor Day weekend and the return of kids to school, I hear the sounds of summer ending. The mornings are cooler now and dusk is falling earlier. I've seen yellow and orange on a few of the trees. It's bittersweet, I know. Because there is much to be said for summer. But autumn is coming, with all its glories, and it just might be my favorite time of the year.

But for one more day, we enjoyed the summer things. I forgot all about my cares, and my bumps and bruises and my pain. For there has been pain of all kinds this summer, though I won't dwell on it now, and I have suffered some too. More than usual for me, but not nearly as much as some.

But in between? Whenever possible? The living force is strong in me; and so is the desire to be happy and to enjoy all of this world's beauties. Yes, here and there, in between, in addition to all of those other very real things: I've had the time of my life.

The soundtrack song has to be this one: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, with (I've Had) the Time of My Life.

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