Monday, August 11, 2014

Late Summer Reflections

An errand took me into WalMart the other day, and I noticed with surprise the rows and rows of binders and crayons, pencils and spiral notebooks. I flipped through my mental calendar and realized with a shock that my children start school in just nine days. Decades ago, I measured the end game of summertime by the progress of back-to-school sewing. Sometime around midsummer, Mother would take us downtown to the fabric store and let us pick out patterns and fabric for our new school clothes. (Fifth grade included a particularly nifty pair of gouchos, light blue denim with a matching shirt. Oh, but I felt stunning!) After a trip to the laundromat and some time spent pulling the fabric to line up the grain, out came the patterns and the interfacing and the black Singer sewing machine. Many seams and zippers later, the fabric began to look like a wardrobe. And in the last days before school, Mother hemmed and added the finishing touches. I eagerly planned my back-to-school outfit, counting down the days.

Somehow, I failed to catch the sewing bug myself, and without the whir of that ancient Singer, summertime meanders along at its own pace, leaving me rather shocked to find myself at the end of the ride, not quite prepared for autumn and falling far short of the lofty goals I set for myself ten weeks ago. The biography I started writing in 2011 remains just short of complete. My blog suffers from neglect. I half-read several books and completed none of them. I never ran that 10K I intended to run this summer.

However, while the writing fell by the wayside (again), we built good memories. I watched while Son #1 married a wonderful woman, and I smiled at the delight of Son #3 as he hiked with me along the edge of a mountainside. I ran dozens of miles and biked hundreds more, clearing my head and finding my endurance. I dated my husband and discovered downtown Springfield with my daughter. I even enjoyed the state fair for once, despite the rain that soaked us while we screamed and laughed on the rides.

The next few days will find me wandering those school supply aisles with a list in my hand and an excited third grader by my side. Perhaps on my way out of the store I will casually drop my list of summer goals in the garbage can and start fresh for autumn, buoyed up by good memories and the warmth of summer on the wane.