Summer Is a Frame of Mind

Summer isn’t measured so much by the calendar as it is by the weightless days you move through.  You shed your layers of clothes and kick off your heavy shoes, trading them in for shorts and flip-flops, making your spirit seem lighter, too.

We just returned from a three-day weekend get-away to meet some friends in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for one last summer fling.  Driving up the Eastern Shore, we noticed the dry and dusty road and the yellowing cornfields, and sensed summer’s end was coming.

Fewer and fewer produce stands lined the road, and their offerings were meager.

As I sat on Dewey Beach under our beach umbrella, watching the families reveling in the surf, and when we strolled the boardwalk with its carnival atmosphere, I began to feel summer starting to fade just a little bit more.

Hubby with buddy Zoltar on Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.

Many colleges have begun their fall semester, my husband’s included, and school children will soon follow, some starting before Labor Day.  It seems once school is in session, even though summer doesn’t officially end until September 22, astrologically speaking, we are done with summer.  My September issue of Better Homes and Gardens features a fall scene on its cover with a teaser about knockout autumn containers, and one of my food magazines sports a bowl of chili on its front along with article titles such as “45 fabulous fall ideas” and “harvest favorites.”  If I were September, I would shout, “No fair!  You’re short-changing me!”

After we unloaded the car yesterday, I went out to my little courtyard and watered my bedraggled plants, victims of a summer with too much heat and too little rain.  My blackberry lilies are finally showing me how they got their name as their bright orange flowers have changed to pods of blackberry-looking fruit.   Soon we will cut our perennials down to the ground, our lilies, our irises, and our hostas, and prune back our roses, waiting for them to ignite again in the spring.  Though they will be gone from sight, they will only be sleeping, ready for the right time to appear again.

Summer is a perennial season for me.  Yes, it is nearly over, but its roots lie deep in my spirit.  Some autumn day, when the last leaves are falling, or when a blustery winter wind blows, I will pull out a piece of summer when I need it, savoring its sweetness. Summer is a frame of mind.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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38 Responses to Summer Is a Frame of Mind

  1. Pingback: Farewell Summer … Welcome Fall « Leah's Thoughts

  2. judithhb says:

    Just catching up on reading after a hectic couple of weeks. Thursday was the first day of spring here and we have had three perfect spring days so far. gone the cold, damp days of winter (we hope) and spring will soon burst forth from the ground again, although already we are seeing the new growth on the roses.

  3. Sajib says:

    Your mind will change if you decide to live the rest of your life in Bangladesh (not as a foreigner living in a five star hotel, obviously, but like general people). Summer is more like preparing people for hell in Bangladesh. It is good for some agricultural aspect, but in lifestyle, it sucks.

    • comingeast says:

      Haha! Sort of like living in West Texas! Once you’ve experienced our lovely summers, you’ll know what I mean. Thank you, Sajib, for visiting my blog and taking the time to read some of my posts and commenting.

  4. Beautifully written “prune back our roses, waiting for them to ignite again in the spring”. Each season is so distinct. I love your anticipation of what you do now and what it promises to bring. Vivid image.

  5. Patti Ross says:

    Well stated, as usual. I love the idea of being able to summon back no matter what month it is. I shared a comparable idea about summer on my blog a bit ago: http://learnmoreeveryday.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/summer-a-state-of-mind/

    I do hate how we are rushed through the seasons, especially through marketing. I actually received a catalog the other day that was having a pre-season sale on Christmas cards! I hate it. Let us enjoy the end of summer!

  6. Leah says:

    Is that the same Zoltar from Big? Am I aging myself? Anyway, I absolutely love how you described summer in this post. The words you used and the descriptions were beautiful. Truly beautiful. And I LOVE your first sentence: “Summer isn’t measured so much by the calendar as it is by the weightless days you move through.” You’ve inspired me to write my own end-of-summer-esque post and I may use that line (with credit to you, of course). Beautiful piece!

    • comingeast says:

      Wow, Leah! I’d love to read you end of summer piece, and it would be an honor for me if you used my line. Yes, doesn’t that look like the same Zoltar from Big, one of my favorite movies? I think Big took place on Coney Island, but the look of our Zoltar is the same as the one in the movie. Of course, Zoltar is magic, so he can be in many different places.

  7. I love your statement…”I will pull out a piece of summer when I need it.” I am a huge fan of autumn but there are days deep in the middle of autumn and winter when I long for the feel of those summer days. You are a marvelous writer. Great blackberry lilies!

    • comingeast says:

      Thank you , LDC. I’m a lover of fall, too. We’re hoping to drive up to Boston in October to visit our sons and see the fall foliage. My heavy UConn sweatshirt is waiting for me in the closet.

  8. Amy says:

    Your post is like a nice, cool breeze, so desperately needed here. It has been a brutal summer for Texans.

    • comingeast says:

      Amy, I feel for you, having moved here from San Antonio. My San Antonio friends have kept me informed and asked for prayers. I heard on the radio this morning that there is still no relief in sight.

  9. Dor says:

    As always, you have captured the subtle changes toward Autumn in the most wonderful words. I love the shadows too and the clear light. It’s nature at work isn’t it? And if we pay attention, we can see and feel the shift. Thank you Susan.

  10. Lovely post! I’m ready for fall; it’s my most favorite season of all. Love the picture of Zoltar. I too immediately thought of the movie, Big. Your husband’s still the same age as he was before the trip, isn’t he??? Just thought it might work backwards on adults! 😉

  11. E.C. says:

    You’re right mid-August and September does get short-changed on the seasonal themes. I truly agree Summer is a frame of mind. Your words about ‘pulling out a piece of summer when you need it’ echoes how I make it through the winter. This is great post with wonderful thoughts. 🙂

    • comingeast says:

      Thank you, E.C. I just stepped outside, thinking it would be hot (hard to tell when you’re in air conditioning all day), and was surprised that the breeze felt just a tad cool. The thermometer says 80, but it doesn’t feel hot. Can fall be far behind?

  12. This is a beautiful post — and I was just thinking the same thing myself yesterday. The air felt like fall and it sounded like fall too. Those blackberry lilies are beautiful! And can I just say that I am so envious of your trip to Rehoboth Beach — I’ve always wanted to go there — and now especially so because you got to see Zoltar — fond memories of that from the movie Big!

    • comingeast says:

      That was our first time at Rehoboth Beach, but it won’t be our last! I find it funny that we live in Virginia Beach and we drove four hours to go to Rehoboth Beach, but we really went to be with our friends who drove down from Connecticut. I definitely thought of Big, too, when we saw Zoltar.

  13. Beautifully written, as always. My son starts school next week and it just feels too soon. We still have a month of summer left (technically) I love fall though, it’s my fave season by far. Winter I could do without once January hits.

    • comingeast says:

      And winter lasts so long up there. My boys in Boston feel that way, too. I do love fall, but I’m not ready to say good-bye to summer yet. The older I get, the shorter the days seem to get.

  14. It’s the change in quality of the light and that one cool note in the air that gets me every year. I felt it the moment we returned from vacation and it made me sad. Until I remembered pumpkin pie, and then I was happy again.

    I also loved the line about pulling out a piece of summer when you need it. Every winter, as the oranges reach their peak, they become my inner summer. Sweet and bright – it’s impossible for me not to smile when I eat them.

    Beautiful words as always, Susan.

  15. Lovely way of summing it up. As a fall lover, I often look forward to the change of season because summer’s oppressive heat has finally beaten me down, but at the same time, I’m always sad to see it go. Karmically speaking, I wouldn’t want any season to be shortchanged, as my favorite season seems to often get short shrift and I try to do unto other seasons what I would have done unto mine. Enjoy the dog days!

    • comingeast says:

      I agree, SC. I love the crispness of fall and the newness of spring, and the carefree days of summer. Though I’m not crazy about winter, I find it a time to slow down and get some house projects done and read a lot. So every season has its good things.

  16. ‘Summer is a perennial season for me. Yes, it is nearly over, but its roots lie deep in my spirit. ” You should write a book my friend. Theses words are from heaven.

  17. I love this….I’m going to pull out a piece of summer when I need it as well! Isn’t it crazy how early kids go to school nowadays? I home school, and I refuse to start earlier than Labor Day. It’s still summer for goodness sake!

    • comingeast says:

      Growing up, I never started school before Labor Day. That being said, that still meant summer was mentally over nearly three weeks before it officially should have been. Summer used to seem so long; now it seems so short, and I don’t even have kids in school anymore.

  18. Those summer roots must be what keep people sane in the dead of winter. I will have to keep this post on hand for those times.

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