Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August Rushes In

On the first day of August, we went camping. We have not camped as a family since we moved here. I don't know why. But sometime last autumn Ayla came to me crying and said she was upset because we never go camping anymore. She has a flair for the dramatic but also for telling truths. She is a Libra and a Hufflepuff. But of course I don't believe in any of all that.

August sometimes gets a bad rap, but its one of my favorite months. August is when the light changes. One warm day in August you will be sitting in your car, it will be late afternoon, the light will go peach-colored and a breeze will blow in. On the underside of this breeze there will be a chill, and you will know that fall is going to come. Your seven-year-old daughter will turn to you and say, "It feels like everything good is about to happen". August is the month of stone fruit and school supplies. It's the month Indy was born. One day in August I had barely slept all night and was driven from my bed at four in the morning with labor pains. I thought this labor would take all day, run into the night, like my first. A mere seven hours later, I would be holding my Indy in my arms for the first time, her short little nose, her funny long legs. Ayla's first act as a human was to gaze at us as if she had known us for millions and millions of years. Indy's was to have a good cry. How could I not love August?

Camping here is different than camping in Colorado. We didn't grow up here, we don't know the good spots. We drove ten minutes down the street before turning onto a long dirt road lined with corn fields and horses. At the end of this rough road was a bend in the river, and we set up our tent on its banks. No alpine air, too many bugs. But the upside is this ancient river. Colored like coffee or the gold of some hound's eye, the girls undulating their sleek bodies in the shimmering light, little seals, legged mermaids. They are growing strong. Dive low, sputter up. Skip stones. Splash your sister. Ayla propped Indy up on her straight shoulders and said "I won't be able to do this much longer, you'll get too big." Ayla's legs impossibly long, Indy's eyes the brightest thing in the whole world.

Some people feel compelled to rush through August, squeezing in last minute summer before school starts up again. For me August is when summer slows down. You just have to surrender what you didn't get to. Like a woman of advanced age who doesn't hurry from place to place. Like the river growing wide around its slowest bend. For just a little while in August the world opens up. The swell of July is behind us, the smoke of September is ahead. I sat beneath leaves that danced with the light of the sun off the river. I felt a depression lift away. The old French Broad eventually flows into Tennessee. But just there, in that bend, it would hold us. My daughters closed their eyes and jumped in.


  1. This is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read. It has given me a whole new perspective on August, another way to approach its slow monotonous days. Thank you for this light-filled evocation of the season. Your girls are growing up magnificently. Your photos are poetry. How I have missed your writing!

  2. I will just repeat the above comment because it says it all. How I love your writing and miss it when you are gone. I am an August baby as well -- you've described so perfectly what it's meant to me as a sort of end of the year -- the languor and the beauty and the promise of the next.

  3. Me too! I feel the same way our other sisters here felt. And it reminded me of exactly why I've been wondering when I would get to read some of your gorgeous words again. Thank you.

  4. Sigh. Sniffle and sigh. I love this with a pain in my chest.

  5. Sigh. Sniffle and sigh. I love this with a pain in my chest.

  6. Pure Poetry! I love how you turn a phrase, "The swell of July, - the smoke of September "
    So, right now, to read your words, is a comfort I can't contain, except to say please write again!

  7. I have nothing to contribute, except that this is so beautiful. It almost makes me okay with August. In truth, it's the month I like the least. But this ... wow, this makes me want to love it.

  8. Your writing never fails to stun me. I feel like I am there, watching your daughters leap into the river. Thanks for this quiet, good moment.


link within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...