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SLOWING SUMMER – News From The Hills

The days are still hot and humid as summer lingers on, but there is a change coming soon. August brings the tail end of summer as the gardens finish their work for another season. The ripe smell of corn tassels hang heavy in the air as the cornstalks turn brown and dry. The late crops have mostly matured as we put the last of the cut-off corn in the freezer. All that is left are the smaller nubbins that will be made into pickled corn.

The hectic pace of summer is beginning to slow some, as the country housewife looks at the filled cellar shelves and packed deep freezers with satisfaction. It is a more restful time also as the schoolchildren board the yellow school buses for another season of learning.

The autumn season brings a greater awareness of the swift passage of time. There is a feeling of melancholy in the air, and the katydids are singing a farewell to summer. The dead and dying gardens testify to the fact that the cycle of life has ended once more, and a deeper response within us reminds that we too are mortal, and our cycle of life has an end. Still, this is my favorite season of the year.

I love stripping the garden of the last of its produce and knowing that you haven’t let anything go to waste. There is a secure feeling when you walk in the cellar and know that your summer’s work has been canned, preserved, pickled, and frozen. It is the same feeling you get when you see the neatly stacked pile of winter firewood, and can rest assured that you are ready for cold weather.

Blending in with the yellow of the goldenrod, the blue of the gentian and purple of the ironweed is the bright yellow of the school buses as our children start to school once again. Some mothers feel a bit of sadness when their children leave the nest and venture outside the home, but it was always a time of relief for me. With six children all in school at one time, and summertime losing its appeal, it was a relief for them too.

Although it has been quite some time since our own boarded one of these buses, the sight of them brings a remembered pang to the heart. It seems just a breath ago that our children were in school, and not much longer than that, we were going. Time passes so fast that it is hard to grasp. I have to confess that I still have dreams of trying to get them ready to catch the bus on time. It’s more of a nightmare!

When my first little one (Mike, who wore size 5 clothes at that time!) reached school age, there was a different kind of feeling in the pit of my stomach. There was the sad, bittersweet knowledge that my son was leaving the days of babyhood forever behind. I am sure that many a mother has the same sinking feeling as they see their own tots begin their great school adventure. This is just one milepost in a series of mileposts that pile up faster and faster as the years go by.

I must confess that I experienced quite a qualm when Crystal, our last little chick, started to kindergarten. Our pastor’s wife, Diane, and I took Crystal and Shelly for their first day. We were both tearful, as this was her first one and my last, but Crystal and Shelly ran to the toy cupboards and children’s kitchens, and never looked back.

This coming May, Crystal’s oldest daughter, Alyssa, will finish pharmacy school and receive her title of Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy.) My, how the years have rolled on since we took Crystal to kindergarten! Another milepost, and we don’t have any idea of what the future will hold. Our Job as parents are to bring up our children in the way of the Lord; to instill in them a reverence and love for the things of God. We must pray for them each day as they go out into the world, and ask our Heavenly Father to keep them in His care. Now we are praying for grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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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