August disappeared in rain. It began in the morning, drenching the summer’s last flowers and leaving puddles on the lawns.
We ate lunch, watching its pearls slide down the windowpane and down the needles of the spruce outside the door.
It brought night’s curtain early, without another glimpse of her. And so we were left to whisper our goodbyes to the cricket song and to drift into dreams of sunflowers, wistfully sighing, “Don’t go. Don’t go. Don’t go,” even though, in our hearts, we knew that she was gone.
How quickly it goes. August, the summer.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m caught in some time-lapse movie where, in the space of a few breaths, frozen ground sprouts with shoots of green, bare trees erupt in blossoms and leaves, flocks of birds arrive, fields grow thick with crops, and then – at some silent signal – it all reverses.
Tractors pull the crops from the fields, the leaves turn to crimson and bronze, the flowers sing their last hoorah and snow falls on the empty fields.
The best you can do is be awake in every moment as it passes. Bow to the gold of it, revel in its song, breathe its fragrance into your being until you are one with it, dancing and filled with joy.
One more spin around the planet’s axis is all that’s left of August’s stay. “What a ride!” she laughs as she drops great armfuls of late summer flowers along the roadsides. She thinks of them as farewell bouquets, gifts of love for earth’s children.
She’s ushered in a spate of cool nights and drenched the mornings in fog. The school children, returning to their classes, hop like small birds to ward off the chill as they wait in the pearly mornings for the bus.
The corn is tall in the fields, nearly ready for harvest. The first V of geese has gone over, honking. And at night, the sound of crickets fills the air.
Summer’s green still holds sway, and the afternoons are thick with heat. But you feel it sliding away and you lean more toward soup than salad as you ponder your evening’s meal.
August, surveying her handiwork, smiles in satisfaction. She’s nudged the world from its summer dreams and set our sights on autumn. And that was exactly what she had come to do.
“What a ride!” she says again as she aims the setting sun’s rays on the field of glowing goldenrod. “What a ride.”
A seed here, a breeze there, some sun, some rain, the tilt of tiny blue planet as it races around its star. Who would think that happenstance could produce such harmony and beauty?
Yet here it is, right before our eyes: Balance, a grace of design, an artful juxtaposition of varied hues and forms. Nothing is out of place. Nothing is missing.
Explain it as you will; the beauty remains and surpasses mere theories. The heart understands what words cannot tell.
The Yes sends its blessings in shafts of light that fall, ever so silently, on the heart’s soft ground.
Walk softly, my child, and feel your heart respond. Feel it rising in hope and renewal. Feel it leaping with joy.
Even when you walk through thick forests of doubt, the light will find you. It knows your name; it gave birth to your soul.
Walk in peace, my child. You are known, and seen, and loved.
This is the moment that counts, this one, right here, with its unending space and detail. Peel away your expectations, your memories, your stories about what it should be or could be or will be or was, and you’re left with the utterly spectacular.
Look how it fills all your senses, how its lushness pours in through eyes, skin, tongue, nose, ears. Look how it moves, everything flowing into the ever-changing now, ungraspable, but all yours for the taking.
Think how miraculous it is that all of this should be here, with you, alive and aware, on this speck of a planet in infinite sky. What a hoot! What a joy! What a wonder!
The simple fall of wildflowers against the late summer greens seemed, somehow, a gesture of grace. It was, in its way, like a smile that breaks the monotony of a humdrum afternoon, a trill of unexpected joy.
It was such a small thing, a curve of brightness caught by the corner of the eye. And yet, catch the eye it did, as if some elf or fairy was hidden in the tangle of green, waving a tiny handkerchief with a cheery grin. And in a twinkle, it changed your day.
Everything matters. Every bean, every silk on every ear of corn, every wisp of cloud is essential to the whole. Every cricket and cicada and the music that they make is necessary.
You and I matter. Every breath we take connects us to the holy All.
Nothing is random. Every particle is a note in the grand symphony of the Yes and is an expression of its perfection.
Even what appears as error is but a minor strain flowing toward the next ascension of the soaring score. Everything resolves in beauty and is spontaneous and free.
Overnight, the grocer’s outdoor rows of flowers went from petunias to mums. If you hadn’t noticed the wash of russet on the hillside’s trees, here’s your sign.
There’s more. As the automatic doors swoosh open, you see that heaps of sweet corn, peppers and tomatoes have displaced the strawberries, peaches and nectarines. And deeper inside, a mountain of school supplies gleams behind red posters that proclaim “Big Savings!”
We need these signs. Without them, the hot, hazy weather would lull us back to summer’s languid dreams.
But here are the pots of mums, come to carry us toward summer’s end. And oh, who could ask for more beautiful companions!
The lake is mirror still, reflecting the weeping willows, the grasses that line its banks, the high summer sky.
It’s the stillness that allows such clarity. Disturb it with the toss of a pebble and the image will ripple. Bring on a storm and what was lucid degrades into a muddy blur.
Be at peace, my child, that you may see truly. And in your seeing, know how dearly you are loved.