ANN BAILEY: Savoring the last of summerI know that, officially, summer does not end for another month, but for me, the start of school signals to me that the season has drawn to a close and that fall has begun. That’s OK because there are a lot of things I like about fall, and yes, even winter.
Every year the swiftness at which summer flies by catches me by surprise and this year is no exception. My three children will begin their second-grade, sixth-grade and eighth-grade school years in the Larimore (N.D.) Public Schools on Wednesday.
I know that, officially, summer does not end for another month, but for me, the start of school signals to me that the season has drawn to a close and that fall has begun. That’s OK because there are a lot of things I like about fall, and yes, even winter.
I’ve decided that rather than lamenting the end of summer, it’s better to enjoy what fall, winter and spring have to offer. After all, summer vacation is only three months. If we spend all of our time looking forward to and enjoying only June, July and August, we waste three-quarters of the year.
Although, summer seems to be gone in a blink of an eye, really, all time flies by quickly. I think summer just seems to go by faster than the other seasons because the beginning and ending of vacation from school sets a definite timeline. When I stop and think about it, the periods from September to December, December to March and March until May also zoom by.
On the go
I kept busy during the fall, winter and spring months before we had children. With horses to feed, mowing and gardening, snow removal and other farmstead chores to accomplish, there wasn’t time to be bored. Now that we have children, life is even more of a whirlwind. School and extracurricular activities constantly keep us on the move. Not that I mind. To the contrary, I love attending my children’s activities.
I’ve long been a sports fan and it will be great fun to watch Brendan, an eighth-grader, play football, wrestle and run in track. Thomas, a sixth-grader, will play football and wrestle. Sometimes my two sons’ events overlap so Brian and I each go to one. We’re following in the footsteps of many other parents who have children older than ours. I watched those couples split up for cheering duty for many years and knew our turn would come. It burns more gas to drive to separate events, but the payoff in terms of what it means to our children to have us attend their events is priceless.
So far, Ellen, a second-grader, doesn’t have any extra-curricular sports, but that will change in a couple of years. In the meantime, there are school concerts, art shows and school carnivals to attend.
Besides the school events, we also will be involved in many family activities, such as hosting a fall party at the farm, Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities. Those events are fun ways to celebrate the season and warm the soul during the cooler days that lie ahead.
For me, one of the most difficult things about the end of summer vacation is not that fall is in the air, it’s that winter is lurking in the background. On a beautiful 80-degree, blue-skied day when the grass is green and flowers are blooming, it’s hard to think I’ll ever get used to minus 30-degree blustery days when everything is white.
However, I try to keep in mind that there are a lot of days to be enjoyed between now and then. Fall weather, with its yellow and gold landscape, warm days and cool nights, is lovely. Meanwhile, I know that once the cold and snow set in, I’ll adjust to, and even embrace, the winter weather. I like to go sledding and this year I would like to try out cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.
For now, I’m enjoying the waning days of summer and the garden goodness that Mother Nature is providing. The sweetness of muskmelons and watermelons, tang of cucumbers in vinegar and delightful taste of sun-ripened tomatoes are there for the picking and I plan to savor them, in the company of family and friends, to the utmost.