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All the leaves are brown…
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
And according to my calculations, when you read this, it will be gone.
I look forward to summer’s arrival each year. To me, summer is the season of hope, even though hardly anything big or good happens to me in the summer. Things seem easier. You don’t have to bundle up to go outside. There’s lots of stuff going on, from concerts to festivals to amusement parks. Then, there’s the private stuff, like hanging out in your backyard or on the porch, enjoying a summer afternoon breeze, or the pleasantness of twilight, which for us this year didn’t come until late in the day.
But all good things eventually come to an end. And this is what I hate about summer. I wish I could say to myself, “cheer up, summer always comes next year, just like the other seasons,” but it doesn’t work. Summer needs to last for about six months. It’s the sunlight I miss, during the winter. The gray skies that seem to last for weeks are what gets me. It’s not so much the cold; I’m sure it’s the sun, because on the few cloudy days we had this summer, I realized I wanted to sleep all day. The sun gets me out of bed. It doesn’t necessarily cause me to get stuff done (although this summer I got more stuff done than I have in years) it just makes me want to get up and live.
As I type this, it’s a Sunday morning, early in September. I let my dog out in the yard, and as usual, she wants company. It’s about 52 degrees as I pick my way carefully through the wet grass. There is a stillness that tells me, “summer is going.” The crickets are chirping away, but where are the birds? Isn’t it too early for them to fly south? Are they still asleep? The quiet and the refreshing crispness of the morning are further reminders that Labor Day weekend is gone and our next “time off” holiday is...Thanksgiving? Sad but true, unless you get Veteran’s Day off. Or Columbus Day.
At the beginning of June, if you’d told me I would have quit my job to take the summer off, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. But this year, I told the work ethic to take a vacation. Given the events of the past year and a half, I was probably due for some sort of break.
Even though I slept till the “crack of noon,” I got lots of stuff done this summer. From mid-January to mid-April, I worked three jobs and took a class. I had no evening time to spare, and I used the weekends to catch up on sleep and the basic housework I’d neglected during the week. So this summer, I worked on the things I needed to do, because it may be some time before I’m able to deal with them again. Time is a valuable commodity, perhaps more so than money. You can invest money, and it grows. With time, you can only use it to the best of your ability. I want to look back at this summer and have no regrets about how I spent my time. I cleaned and decorated parts of my house this summer. I also played. I watched more movies than I had in years. I drove around with no place to go. I went to the drive-in and witnessed a slice of American culture that has all but vanished. Drive-ins are fun, and we are blessed to have so many of them less than an hour from Fort Wayne. Of the 400 or so remaining in the United States, I can think of three that are fairly close to us. Four, if you are willing to drive to Wabash.
So I worked this summer, and I played this summer. I also think I made a life-changing decision this summer, and time will tell if it was the right one to make. And even though at the time it seemed like an adventurous thing to do, maybe all the events of the last 18 months have led up to this.
I just realized my alarm clock is going off. I set it, even though I’ve been waking up very early this summer, without benefit of an alarm. Usually, I’d get up, go to the bathroom, and go back to sleep. Today, I woke up and decided to write. That’s a rarity, too. But I seized the moment. I could have easily jotted down this topic and written it this evening, but when you’ve got an idea, and the timing is right, you need to go with it.
But now, it’s time to start my day. This late summer day.