Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drifting Out of Summer

A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July—
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
End poem, Lewis Carroll
We are coming down to the end days of summer. Schools started back in session today here in our town. Warren and I caught a ballgame last night in Columbus (the Indians’ Triple A farm team) and it grew cool enough during the evening that I slipped on a cotton sweater. The rudbeckia bed is going to seed; each day there are fewer and fewer bees and more and more finches.

The nights are cooler, the mornings are sharper, the day temperatures are softer. There are fewer cicadas during the day and fewer katydids at night. The crickets, however, have taken their place in the chorus.

Drifting out of summer. Substitute “August” for July in Carroll’s poem and that would capture the feel of the days.

Canning and freezing operations have started up on the weekends in the kitchen. Last Sunday I canned seven pints of salsa and eleven pints of tomatoes. It’s not August until you spend the whole day standing in your kitchen cannery with steam everywhere. There are still many, many tomatoes in the garden; the peppers are also finally starting to turn. 

The first high school football game is this Friday. We are just close enough to our local high school that you can hear the marching band, faintly, during practice. Come Friday night, the sky will be lit up to the west when they turn on the field lights.

Drifting out of summer.

On the home front, the summer has been squished and packed with many projects and events. Older family members have had medical issues needing attention; I’ve been accompanying my aunt Ginger to appointments. As she nears her 82nd birthday this fall, she looks more and more like her mother, my beloved Grandma Skatzes, so I am feeling perhaps even more strongly the already strong family bonds that connect us.

The “children” in the household have shifted all summer long. Sam headed back west earlier this month. He resumes school in September and just landed a job with a Portland area farm market. Sam has shown a lot of interest in local, sustainable food sources, so this may be an ideal fit for him. Elizabeth is back from her summer travels and work and will soon start the every other weekend routine with us as she heads into her final year of high school. We have even seen a fair amount of David, who went back to college this week.  

And Amy moved in with us last week.

Amy had been living on the edge of homelessness for a long time. Her father finally ordered her out of his apartment and she moved into an overcrowded house where she was sharing a room with two others and where the owner of the house made it clear Amy was not welcome. I kept saying, “We have a room for you,” and she kept resisting, trying to make things work out where she was. Then Warren and I came home after work one day last week and he said “that’s Amy’s car.”

There she was, parked in front of our house, curled up on the front seat sobbing. She was the one who made the decision to leave, as opposed to being tossed out, but it was a hard decision all the same. All of her worldly goods (except those she had moved out previously and were stored elsewhere with safe families) were in the back seat of her car.

We carried her clothes and her boxes into the house. Amy was teary and upset for the first hour, but slowly calmed down and starting putting her new room to rights. The first thing she did was hang her dream catcher over her bed. I hope it catches all of her bad dreams. She had brought a few stuffed animals with her – small, well-worn, well-loved ones – and later I saw them on the neatly made bed, tucked in by the pillows. I think that broke my heart more than anything else: at that moment she was just a little girl with no roof over her head.

But she has one now, just in time for the change in seasons. And I am grateful beyond words that we have a roof that we could share with her.

Drifting out of summer. It’s been a bittersweet time. I miss my three Oregon children, happy as I am that they are all stable and happy out there. Shepherding family members through the medical world is a poignant reminder of how short the time is growing that we have with one another. Watching Amy calming down and putting her life back together is bittersweet. She has been drifting long enough and could use some change.

Drifting out of summer. May all of our boats come back into the harbor for the winter, snug against the storms.


Jenny Woolf said...

Nice post. This is rather a nice time of year but Spring is definitely my favourite time! I hope things work out better for Amy now.

Sharon said...

I'm glad Amy has you April. What a warm and wonderful home to be able to go to. I believe her luck has just changed. :)!

see you there! said...

The changing of seasons always makes me feel reflective. I posted on this subject myself today.

You and Warren are certainly a blessing for Amy.