‘TO SUMMER’ – News From The Hills

I heard the katydids tolling your death knell last night. In fact, the lonely, haunting dirge has sounded out for weeks now. They are singing of change, and cold, and a white, creeping death that will come to summer and singer alike.

You don’t look as if you are dying, Summer. In the midst of your lush, green fullness it seems absurd to speak of death and decay. Yet there are unmistakable signs that your days are numbered. There is a sad air of decadence hovering over your gardens now, with dry and withered cornstalk entwined with wreathes of morning glories. Your mountains are still dressed in full flowing robes of green, but here and there a tinge of yellow shows at the border of your garments.

There is an almost imperceptible difference in your night air, and the morning mist seems to linger a little longer each day. A streak of yellow goldenrod is now appearing in your tresses, and Summer, you will have to admit that you are changing.

I remember the early days when you first came into my life. You were so young and tender, full of promise. Spring had left, and I was ready for you. What beautiful times we had together! Remember how we explored the fields and woods, reveling in the teeming new life evident everywhere?

You showed me the robin’s nest, hidden in the lilac bush, with the tiny, naked birds with wide, yellow bills agape. You pointed out the intricately woven nest of the vesper sparrow, with its wee white eggs spotted with brown, cleverly concealed in the tall meadow grasses. You brought me the first roses of the season – masses of pink and red rambler roses tumbling over fence and trellis, and the brilliant tea roses that perfumed the air with their fragrance. Summer, you brought me so much – but you have been so unpredictable.

You almost overpowered me with your early rains, then you blew hot and dry. I never doubted your intense feeling for me, but the hot, passionate sun you sent was almost too much.

You have freely given of your wildflowers that still enhance the fields and roadsides. Orange butterfly weed flames amid the lacy beauty of Queen Anne’s lace, and the true blue of the chicory weed abounds. You are still beautiful, Summer, yet you are leaving me.

When you first came, I knew you couldn’t stay. Yet with your serene ways and balmy, quiet evenings, I was lulled into the false security that you would last forever. Now you are showing signs that tell me you truly will go.

I have noticed that your songbirds no longer sing so lustily at daybreak, and at evening time I see clusters of them moving about sort of uneasily. Their daytime song is almost drowned out by the mournful song of the crickets that sing all day long. I find myself wishing that you could stay, but you never promised me that.

I know that when you leave, you will be taking so many things with you. The green from the grass and meadows, the flowers that bloom by the wayside, the hot sunshine and birdsong – these things you will pack and take. The garden crops that I have labored for – what is left of these you will take also. There were times when you seemed almost cruel in your treatment of me, yet I will never forget you, Summer. You have been quite an experience.

You will linger for a while longer, though. There will still be hot days, and calm evening when we will sit in the porch swing and enjoy each other’s company. It will be bittersweet, however, since the knowledge is between that you cannot stay…

You won’t leave me bereft. It makes my heart race to know whom you will be sending to take your place. I love her so much, your sister Autumn. She will bring a riot of color to replace the green that you will take, and her very presence will be a balm to my soul. I find myself no longer able to keep up your hectic pace, Summer. When you take the garden crops, Autumn will give me tranquil days to enjoy the beauty. Already I am getting anxious for her arrival…

God sent you Summer, and I have loved you. On the days that you behaved the worst, I still appreciated the opportunity to enjoy you. I have had eyes to see your loveliness, ears to hear the song of the robin and the cardinal, and a heart to appreciate the things you have given. So we will enjoy the last days we have together. Summer of 2016, you will never be again. But, oh, I can hardly wait for Autumn…

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer