Summer Reflections

(Branch of the Profusion Crabapple tree just off my balcony)

The summer of 2008 has been one of exaggerated superlatives. Depending on whom you’re talking to, it’s been the hottest, muggiest, dampest, greenest, lushest, dreariest, wettest, windiest, best, worst summer in years. For me, I’d say it’s been a combination of all the above.

You can see summer begin to steal away in the different slant of light at sunrise and set. The predictable late summer wildflowers already dot the countryside with bursts of color: the mustard yellow of goldenrod and the delicate lavenders of wild asters. The Queen Ann’s Lace is at its best and most of the chicory has come and gone. The cicadas sing on sunny days and crickets chirp at night. And yes, small apples are beginning to form and grow in local orchards and gardens.

It’s been an oxymoronic summer for me, one of restless content, filled with wonderful surprises and keen disappointment. My family is all well and thriving, and for that I am very grateful. My older daughter has had many unexpected leads on jobs in her field of study (Environmental Science). My younger daughter and her little family just purchased their first home and it’s been such a joy to watch their excitement.

Dreams–and perhaps overzealous expectations–of living in our own house by summer’s end appear to have been dashed. My aunt, bless her heart, stubbornly refuses to agree to let anyone live in her home, vacant now for over a year, because through the dark veil of Alzhemier’s, she still sees herself returning to it. That matter will resolve itself as time goes on, but having lived in this apartment for 10 years now, I had so hoped to be living in and caring for her house by now. We still assume the responsibility for its care, but that now seems a dreaded chore.

And it’s been a summer plagued with financial woes, but I won’t go into that, and that’s Life, I guess. I’m thinking of setting up a small website where I can showcase some of my photography and perhaps make a few dollars in the process. You’ll all get an invite if/when I do. :)

How time slips away! It seems only weeks ago that we were all so excited over those first emerging leaf buds and the initial splashes of color in our spring flowerbeds! Can you believe that in two or three short weeks, summer will pretty much be gone?

For the most part, it’s been a summer of many blessings and I’m grateful for the things that really matter. And for all my griping, it has been a stupendous year for gardening. If, as Emerson said, “Earth laughs in flowers,” then she must be positively giddy this summer.

How about you? In a word or two, how would you rate the summer of 2008?

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

21 thoughts on “Summer Reflections”

  1. Nancy,

    You’ve summed it up beautifully…it has been a summer of superlatives….and even uncertainties. I appreciate your thoughtful and deeply reflective words; you make me think and appreciate every moment, Gail

  2. This has been an interesting summer I think for most of us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful poems & photos with all of us. Your posts always give me something to think about. :)

  3. HOT! We never “really” get winter-type weather here compared to you. I’m so sorry about your aunt. Houses are meant to be lived in. Is there some way you can cut off taking care of it? Might bring her to her senses. A house sitting vacant merely falls apart. We all know that. But in the “veil of her illness” she can’t think through that, I guess.
    Brenda

  4. A most touching post, Nancy. Have you been peeking in my heart? My summer reflections reflect yours. May your dearest dreams come true :)

  5. hello! I saw you comment about hummers on Mother Nature and that you had trouble with the ants. You can find hummer feeders with ant wells at Duncraft. They work!

    Good luck and you have a beautiful blog which I want time to savor. I’ll be back!

  6. Summers seem to be less and less about fun and relaxtion, especally for people like me in higher education. Summers are periods of catching up: Two trips to family in MN, one to OH, one to NV, writing a dissertation due this winter (250 pages so far)…. My grandma has early alzheimers, and she thinks she’ll be driving again, but we know that won’t happen. It’s hard to see, especially after losing my other grandma only two years ago. But that’s life, isn’t it, wondeful and crappy but always full–and fullness is good, or can become good if you keep your head down and stay the course.

  7. I know you speak the truth (that summer is ending) but I think in many ways it has gone too fast. The cooler shorter days of autumn are approaching. I hate to see the summer summation posts you can’t deny time. By all means set up that site, you have a great eye for photography and I’m sure there would be a market for your photos!

  8. Good point, Dave — it’s a bit like seeing those back-to-school TV ads the first of Aug when our schools don’t start again until after Labour Day; it does seem to make what’s left of summer pass all the quicker. That was not my intent, I assure you, though I do love fall and winter. I hope we all squeeze as much SUMMER as possible into the next few weeks! :)

  9. A truly touching post Nancy. It has been quite the summer for my family as well. (And the weather has been a major pain in the you know where!) I am glad I found your blog as I have enjoyed spending my summer with you very much. If you decide to set up that website I will be one of your first visitors! In fact I hope you decide to do it! ;-)

  10. i am not sure why but i feel summer has flown by. we planted our first veggie garden and our first wildflower garden from seed. i think the excitement of those has made the days fly. i like the fall but then winter ugh! i love the carefree-ness of summer. i am going to try to squeeze every last drop of it! thanks for your post it was beautifully written and i enjoyed reading it very much!

  11. A wonderful post, and much to reflect on.

    We still have much warm (if not hot) weather to come, but I so appreciate your observations about the coming fall — our days are shortening, and the tinges of fall color are already evident, perhaps triggered by the drought.

    Our summer has been hot and DRY.

    I do hope that you have a larger garden of your own to tend sometime soon, and will be able to inspire us with your posts from a larger canvas.

  12. I sure wondered how you and the old/new house was coming along. I’m glad you are still getting it and now just think of it as mending it for yourself. Send me a picture of it and I’ll play with color and flowers—just for fun. It will give us something to laugh at or adore. I am working on a story house and I put a horse in the kitchen just to make my husband laugh. You need a good inspiration piece. Were you thinking of painting it? I can see what I can do—-you frame the pic–and hang it on your fridge.

    As for me—I’m moved from an old home to a new one. This means leaving gardens behind and building new ones. I turned 50 and it felt good. I’m more outspoken and dh doesn’t like it. I’m sorta unemployed and not sure if I like it or not. Wish i could open up a shop where people bought my flower arrangements every day.

  13. The honesty of your post is touching Nancy as you are experiencing positives and negatives common to many of us. I definitely think you should create a website. You have some wonderful photos. As for our summer, it has flown by. I am not a fan of winter AT ALL so I dread the end of this season. (I can’t really appreciate fall because of the threat of what follows). If I had to sum up this summer, I would say short, hot and extremely dry. Best of luck with the photography website.

  14. Sounds like a bitter sweet summer for you. Blessings mingled with disappointments.

    Mine has been the same. When totaling up the score, I’d have to say the good things outweigh the bad.

    Good luck with the house. I’m surprised a person with alzhemiers has any legal rights in the matter.

    I love your dreamy crab apple photo.
    Marnie

  15. Marnie – you’re right. My aunt gave power of attorney to my Dad, her only brother. But even though he sees the senselessness of the empty house, he’s so tender-hearted that, so far, he won’t go against her wishes. We’re a very small but very close family on his side and my aunt has been like a second mother to me all my life. It’s difficult. And she’s in the very early stages where her only deficit is her short-term memory, so she’s sharp as a tack about most things. It’ll all work out in the end — it’s just a shame to see her beautiful home deteriorate. :(

  16. Nancy, I have heard my mouth say 8 of those words! It does seem to be an odd summer everywhere. Part of it, I think is that it is the first time in a long while there was so much going on that we have no control over. Fuel, war, weather, etc.

    For myself, I am preparing myself for retirement. I know that my next summer’s garden will be my last one here. And, there is still a lot I want to accomplish here, before we move to the southwest, so I don’t want time to move too fast.

    Your photo site sounds like a good idea. You certainly know how to take great photos. I am anxious to see it.

  17. You have a great gift for writing in a way that twangs the heartstrings.

    Even here, in the high 90s F, we’re getting a feel of early fall–dying buckeye leaves and crickets at night. But it’ll be hot through October.

    I feel for you in the situation with your aunt. It is so hard in the first stages of the disease, because you don’t want the person to feel they’re losing more than they’ve already lost. And because the person is, as you say, sometimes sharp as a tack–and the next minute in another reality. But still the pragmatic management of stuff has to happen.

    Sending you supportive thoughts for this and your photography website. Loved the crabapple photo.

  18. You most definitely are entered in this week’s giveaway (the drawing doesn’t happen until Saturday).

    I really hope you do set up a photo website! I would love to visit it frequently, as I love your work.

    I can completely relate to your term “oxymoronic summer”. Yup, it’s been that kind of summer here too.

    Cindy

  19. Nancy-
    You are right, it is unbelievable how summer has whipped by. Thank god for your writing because I do slow down to savor each (byte!!) word.

    Your blog relaxes me and that is saying a lot coming from this hyperactive mother/ garden designer/business owner/speaker…oh vey, I;m tired again!

    Back to read some more of your posts to calm me down!
    Shirley

  20. Overall, I think this has been a good summer–not too hot, not too dry: good for the garden. Personally, it’s been a summer of highs and lows, but then that’s true of most of my life:)

    I’m sorry the house has not become a reality for you yet. I had lunch with some long-time (I won’t say “old”!) friends yesterday, and the topic of Alzheimer’s came up, because several of them are dealing with parents or in-laws with this horrid disease. It’s so hard for family, not just the patient, involved in situations like this.

    Definitely go for the photo website! Your photos are so wonderful–I wish you success.

  21. The older you get, the more it seems that Time does Fly. I’ve had a very odd summer, too, full of both joys and disappointments. Changes, too.

    I’ve learned some hard lessons, all over again.

    I wish you had your house. It’s a sad thing to see a house fall into ruin, to sit empty and silent when lives could be lived. I love my little house and garden. It’s my refuge from the rest of the world.

    Janie

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