I’m grateful for August, but not for the reasons one would think. August reminds me of something I need to be reminded about.
August snuck out from behind the weeds in my garden and from my so-called lawn and pounced on me, when I least expected it. August caught me off guard and threw me to the ground before I could fight back and then knocked the last bit of oxygen from my lungs. August, the month of seeing summer in the rearview mirror, has arrived.
Back to school supplies are out and though I long to buy new erasers and fresh clean stacks of paper and freshly sharpened pencils and binders and book bags, the thought of summer being in the past tense has me digging my fingernails into this day and not letting summer get away from me. But we all know how that turns out; the effort is fruitless.
August is the last chance to get a holiday in, the last chance to spring clean my windows, the last chance for picnics and boat rides and swimming in northwestern Ontario water. I know that isn’t really true, but this August day, as I sit at my desk circling the wagons around my literary efforts, those feelings seem immensely real.
August takes the summer green of July and bakes it to a dull version of itself. The grass quits growing with the same determined enthusiasm. Firewood stacking has begun, chimney cleaning booked, picking berries started and pretending I’ll do something with the dill that grows of its own accord in the pockets and corners of my garden and staring at my paddock fence does not get it painted. I’m running out of time.
Time isn’t a tangible concept, not really. What one particular minute feels like to you differs from what it feels like to me and that can change on any given day. As we age, it seems the minutes pick up their pace, trying with dedicated fervor to out run the last.
William Penn said that “time is what we want most, but what we use worst”. I had heard that saying on many occasions and it prompted me to look up the purveyor of such truth. William Penn lived from 1644 to 1718 and he was an English real estate entrepreneur, a fact I found a bit odd, considering the day in history, but that reflects my own limited education in the idea of conveying real estate. More importantly, Penn was deemed an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom. He was a Quaker and known for his good relations with “Native Americans”, a rarity at that time. Quakers don’t bow to king and consider all men equal. So I have to credit Penn with wisdom regarding time and how we use time with little regard for its peril.
I had promised myself I would take my morning coffee to my deck and tuck into a chair under my gazebo shelter and I would start the day slowly and with intention and with focus to enjoy each second or be aware of each second at the very least. I failed. Today I crawled from bed after a very little bit of sleep and I trudged as I began my day. I’ll do better tomorrow, because as Benjamin Franklin told us, “Lost time is never found again.”