The last days of summer

The most pleasant sensation is slowing drifting into a soft sleep while lying on the ground on a slanted patch near the pond. Even more sensational, is to take time waking to the warm touch of a cool summer breeze and the rustling of leaves. 

Summer is nearing the end. The leaves and grass are now a dull green, the hydrangea turned brown, dried and fallen off like so many others. The rose bushes, the last to bloom, are too losing their flowers. In the evenings, crickets and tree frogs chirp their territorial love songs. The rhythmic sound beats like a drum in the tunnel of trees, beneath a speckled night sky of stars and planets I cannot differentiate. Morning doves have started cooing once more, a gentle awakening.

The city is picking up pace. Orange traffic tickets decorate cars parked down the street unmoved for months. The car covered with a thin layer of pollen and flat tires had a handwritten note tucked behind the windshield wiper - Hey, would you be interested in selling this car? it read. The sidewalk has expanded to make room for pedestrians and cyclists, then narrowed and expanded again to accommodate makeshift outdoor restaurant seating. Ladies in black gowns and foils in their hair sit on chairs underneath rainbow parasols outside the hair salon. The garbage bins are overfilled with cardboard boxes, mattresses, and Ikea furniture, while moving vans and shipping containers keep coming and going.

At the grocery store, people calmly line up behind yellow tape but crowd inside the produce aisles like a group of runners released into the race. Assessing the situation, I walk quickly to retrieve radishes while holding my breath every time. 
 
One of these afternoons, I read a little bit on the balcony and watched the rain trickling in a smooth line as a formation of grey clouds dimmed the light. The smell of soil and warm concrete filled the air and I thought to myself, this is what summer smells like. A single sun ray set aside the clouds and drew its golden light across the floorboards. Stepping out again later that same evening I was faced with a next door neighbor, who was out and ate a handful of potato chips from a crinkly bag while maintaining eye contact. Neither of us said anything.

With the last summer storm, the sky rumbled and lightning flashed like someone turned the light switch off and on, off and on. Dark clouds covered the sky and the street was engulfed in a deep blue, almost complete darkness with the exception of the faint street lamps and red reflecting on the shiny cars on the parking lot. I fell asleep like a cat curled on the edge of the bed, because I was too lazy to wash my feet.

A young robin perched on the branch of a tree outside the window. All day, he cried and flapped his wings until the mother bird arrived every few minutes and stuck a worm down his beak. At one point two cardinals came flying around from branch to branch, circling each other and making a great deal of noise. The chick fluffed his feathers and lowered his body, sitting very still and quiet, baffled by the adults' antics.

As I pull on my socks and settle in front of the computer for the day, with the clicking of keyboards and the whiny voice of the woman across the street complaining on her phone for the thousandth time (bless her father, the most patient man who puts up with her daily crying fits!), the cold in my fingertips takes me back to the happy memories of this summer. I am cycling behind my husband in all of them, towards the ocean, towards the shade under our new favorite tree on the edge of the water, towards stretching our legs, sharing fries and satiating our thirst for fresh air and blue skies.
 
Nearly half the year has flown by and I feel the familiar melancholy, a stillness within me, like that of all Sundays on a bigger scale. The end of every summer is bittersweet, but this one is even more so.  
 
 

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