Wednesday, my granddaughter went back to school. It was a warm day but not quite as hot as it has been the past few weeks. I remember my own "back-to-school" days and having to endure the "end-of-summer" heat. My friend Victoria's mother was the first person I had ever heard the term "Indian Summer" from when she was describing the late summer heat. I have never forgotten that, as with so many other phrases or sayings I have learned along the way.
The wheels in my brain are always turning. It seems that babysitting a little one gives me lots of time to ponder many things. Lately, I've been thinking about my yard and the way it has changed from when we moved here to what it looks like currently. And, I have been planning for the future garden too.
The gophers seemed to get the best of me this year. Some days I would walk out in the vegetable garden and an entire plant would be wilting and turning pale yellow. I have been lucky to retain the pumpkins and the tomatoes, but the melons, eggplant, onions and bell peppers all succumbed to the teeth of the gopher.
I have been thinking about the beach these last few days too. When I was in high school we used to hop in my car and drive to Santa Cruz and watch our friends surf. Living just a few hours away from ocean made it easy to just head to the beach when we wanted to. I have fond memories of camping there, of walking on the wooden planks on the boardwalk, of the salty air and the sand between my toes. There is a whole different feel to an ocean town and it stays with you all your life...that need to be around the ocean occasionally. I have been thinking about the beach more often lately probably because of the heat wave here and the cool breezes as the ocean. But also because of the changes between summer and autumn. This time of the year seems to signal change because it is a transitional time...a time when our thoughts are of the present but also of the future.
Things aren't always as easy as you think in life. I always thought that when I got to the age of retirement that it would be nothing but play and fun from morning until night. But, that doesn't always happen. I guess its true that "nature abhors a vacuum" because the more time I seem to carve out for myself, the more something comes along to fill in the blank space that was created. Some days I just need a little propping up...much like the kick-stand on this bike.
I think about all the places that I have wanted to travel to and more often than not, money seems to be the issue that keeps the reality of traveling away. I guess its not such a bad thing...dreaming about traveling. It at least gives me something to plan for in the future. And maybe traveling at the end of summer is even better than being in the thick of all those people "on vacation". The transient populations will have thinned out and made it easier to get from point A to point B.
I have also been flooded with thoughts about how fragile life is, especially after reading about John Ptak and his wife Patti Digh. She is the author of "Life is a Verb" and many other books. Her husband John has just been diagnosed with cancer and their plans, I'm sure have changed drastically. It has been a time of unknowns, this "end of summer". It makes me think about so many losses in my own life too and wonder.
Patti is right though: life is a verb. It's an action word. You've got to get out there and do something every day. You can't become static because you will just wither on the vine. Making plans for the future is important too but realizing that things change is a very important lesson to learn. Being prepared for those changes is not always as easy as one might think. Be sure to always have a back-up plan and if not, have a kick stand to prop you up for awhile. Sometimes just a little time is all you need to change your outlook. The end of summer is the end but it is also THE BEGINNING OF AUTUMN. The beginning...don't you love the sound of that word?