Sunday, September 6, 2015

Stay a Little, Summer

I love the writings of the late Gladys Taber, particularly her Stillmeadow series, featuring chronological glimpses into her life on her Connecticut farm. For the past weeks, I've been reading Mrs. Taber's "The Book of Stillmeadow," (Harper & Row, Publishers, 1984; originally published by Macrae Smith Company in 1948), with special interest in the June, July and August chapters. I've been comparing Mrs. Taber's 1940s-era summer to mine some 70 years later. There are more similarities than one might imagine, even though we live during different eras in different parts of the country. Gladys Taber's writings are universal because of the gentle spirit she gives them. In "The Book of Stillmeadow," the last words in the July chapter especially struck me (page 206): "'Stay a little, summer, do not go,' I whisper,...." That's how I always feel at this time of year when the seasons and months shift. I'm never quite ready to loosen my grasp on summer. I want it to stay a little. Summer is like a dear guest whose arrival is anticipated, the days counted until it gets here, is savored and relished, and then, whose departure creates a void. I like the sunshine, the billowy clouds in a blue, blue sky, the green grass, the overflowing planters of flowers, the farmer's market finds that are just too good to pass up, the long days, the warm evenings. Stay a little, summer. I like the sound of the children laughing while splashing in the lake as we walk by. I like the smell of barbecue grills, the feel of the warm breeze on my face, the taste of fresh tomatoes and ears of corn, the music of the weekly summer concerts on our courthouse square. Stay a little, summer. But, alas, time marches on and summer is quickly slipping from my grasp as it steps away. It's time to cast my eyes forward to autumn.