It’s August – already?
Wasn’t it just yesterday when that Memorial Day barbecue heralded summer’s arrival with charred brauts, sticky ribs, and gooey s’mores?
And now it’s August.
Poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) called August “the odd uneven time,” and Sue Monk Kidd (b. 1948), author of The Secret Life of Bees, dubbed August “a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzle.”
I think that Natalie Babbitt (1932-2016) described perfectly this time of year. The author of Tuck Everlasting wrote, “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless … and hot.”
All in all, I’ve resigned myself to August’s arrival, recognizing that the Gregorian calendar leaves me no other choice. This year, though, I’m greeting the month from a fresh vantage point: our new deck.
With protein bar and diet cola in hand, Jasper the Cat and I have launched each summer day on the deck, a neighborhood sentry, if you will.
For example, small blackbirds bounce quickly through the grass, savoring the lawn’s August buffet of bugs and worms. They remind me of Sherman’s March to the Sea, a campaign across George during the Civil War – focused and determined. Or maybe they’re more like the Oklahoma Land Rush that started at noon on April 22, 1889, when a gunshot signaled “go” to an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres.
As a kid, one of my dad’s favorite outings was to load up the family and head to the airport to watch the planes land and take off. He always seemed mesmerized by the basic physics of air travel.
These days, because we live a mere stone’s throw from the airport, we are privy to our own daily air show from the deck. Several commercial flights take to the skies each day with their tail fins the only parts visible to us – until they’re up in the sky, that is. Each time, I can’t help but remember the movie Jaws with the shark fins knifing through the surf, the only visible evidence of the beast below. The new sightseeing helicopter carries visitors throughout the day, and budding pilots practice their takeoffs and landings over and over.
From the deck, we watch our resident deer population take advantage of the hayfield behind us—usually more deer in our backyard than in the forest!
From the deck, we’re entertained by the little neighbor boys who love nothing better than putzing with Husband Carl. They can ride their hoverboards up and down the deck’s ramp, leaving us exhausted simply watching them. Moreover, we note that our neighbor teens now have their own vehicles and jobs. Wasn’t it only yesterday when they, too, were also putzing with Carl?
And from the deck, there is a multitude of sounds and smells, too. From the sizzling barbecue grills and fragrant flowers to distant tunes, barking dogs, and a chorus of birds, it’s true: This vantage point has become our sanctuary.