The air was still - stiller than still, and heavy with mid-July humidity. The cicadas hummed and clicked their summer song, children around me splashed and burbled in the deep water, and as I caught the hurtling toddler in my arms, I looked up over the lip of the pool's edge. I saw a little boy staring up into the sky, past the pool fence, transfixed.
I followed his gaze up, past the top of the tall oak trees, into the cloudy greyish skies of a 90-degree day.
I watched the single yellow leaf twirl down amidst the lush greenery of the woods - the little boy and I watched the one yellow leaf make its way to the earth.
It was the single moment - the moment in which you know the end is coming, that the season is making its shift. It brought to mind the same quote I shared back in November:
It is in the nature of things to change. Nothing can last beyond its given time. And I think that instinctively we know what that time is. What is it that makes us know when the summer turns? The smallest shift in the light? The slightest hint of chill in the morning air? A certain rustling of the leaves of the birches? That is how it is - suddenly, in the midst of the summer heat, you are overcome by a tightening of your heart. The realization that it will all come to an end. And that brings a new intensity to everything: the colors, the smells, the feeling of sunshine on your arm. [p. 72, Astrid & Veronika, Linda Olsson]What?! I hear you cry. The summer's barely started! True. It's barely started, and it's begun its end.
But don't you see?? Now we can focus on the "new intensity": now that the single leaf has been spotted, we can love even more the antiseptic smell of the chlorinated water, or the briny brackish smell of the sea. The scream of a child shooting off the end of a slide. The croak of frogs and hum of crickets in the summer night. The white-hot glare of the midday sun. The green earthen smell of fresh-picked tomatoes. The dripdripdrip of watermelon juice from your chin.
I watched the single yellow leaf fall, knew instantly what it meant. But I love the millions of green leaves that remain. It is in the nature of things to change, and it is in the best nature of humans to embrace the changes.
This post is linked to Bridget Chumbley's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival on, you guessed it, Summer. Go check out what the rest of 'em have to say about this intense season.