The air is still and heavy. The flaming red sun, so unusual for this area, gives way to a matte grey sky tinged very barely with pink. The almost full moon, visible earlier, is obscured by the smoke from the wildfires raging nearby. It’s unsettling and a bit surreal.
I have lived here for almost thirty years and have never experienced a sun like this, a summer like this. It got off to a rough start after the wettest winter in over a hundred years and then transitioned into a warm warm summer, wild fire smoke from Canada drifting down to haze our skies, and more recently, our own wildfires disrupting the blue blue sky of our normal summer days. At times I have exulted in the warmth, remembering and reliving my mother’s love of hot days. At other times I have uneasily stood on my deck, viewing the absolutely still hot air, worrying about my trees and feeling unsettled.
Summer end. A friend’s oldest son is fighting the wildfires. Another friend is grieving her son’s death by overdose. The earth rotates about the sun on its elliptical path, moving to its second equinox of the year. An ex-neighbor, who was eight when my oldest daughter was born, has a baby boy and I send a stuffed giraffe. Another neighbor puts their house on the market, planning on moving to a retirement community. The earth spins and holds steady on its axis. A client couple makes a six month commitment to work on their marriage. Another decides to divorce. The moon’s path no longer blocks the sun, at least at these coordinates. I stop on my walk and put heavy sweet blackberries into my mouth – they are almost too ripe. A bear is sighted just up the road, what in the world? The red sun flames as it sets. I am loath to even think about wearing my winter socks and boots, my winter jackets, my warm winter hat, as the calendar turns to September and fall.
My house stays cool in this hot weather, thanks to its vertical build and a towering blue spruce which was only three feet tall when I moved in. It shades the house and I close the windows and doors to keep the hot air out during the day, then yank them open as soon as it is dusk to allow the cool air in. There is fresh salmon on the grill and my old dog lifts her snout. I spend fifteen minutes brushing the burrs out of her long coat.
Summer end. A type of nostalgia grips my heart. Summers of yesteryear flood my being – my young daughters eating half liquid grape popsicles, shrieking with abandon as they fling themselves through the sprinkler, petting the piglets at the state fair with a desperation of wanting one to keep, curling close into me as we read books into the night. The moon is suddenly visible, orange through the trees.