August 20, 2007

Is there a more perfect time of year than August in New England? I think not – and it makes me quite happy to have scheduled my Red Sox game visit during a month I have always held dear and believed to be a special time.

Why August, you ask? Because the weather more often than not is undeniably perfect for just about any kind of activity one could plan. A walk in the woods? Why not, the trees are still heavy and green, and even if the day is hot and humid, there is still likely to be found a refreshingly-cool spot in some shady grove. A trip to the ocean? Absolutely a great time to go – if you’re down in southern New England – say, Newport RI or Mystic, CT, the waters are in the low ’70s and supremely inviting. Further up the coast, in places like Salisbury, MA and Seabrook, NH, the waters are cooler, but – especially on a hot, humid day – have lost their skin-numbing chill, enough to be able to float and swim after a necessary period of getting used to the water temperature.

To me, what always made August so inviting was its unique place in the calendar: no longer quite the high summer of July, these are summer days to cherish, for the shortening of the days from the Summer Solstice is quite noticeable by now, and you don’t need all the “Back to School” sale advertisements to tell you what is coming around the corner. Back in Gilbert, AZ, we still have a solid two months of murderous summer heat ahead of us, but here in New England, the nights are already cooling down, and refreshingly so. I’d forgotten how wonderful cool sheets feel to the touch when you first slide into bed, and a warm and cozy comforter on top of you during these nights almost guarantees a lovely sleep with all that cool fresh night air pouring in. (In our area of Arizona, there’s no such thing as cool fresh night air until you get to the cusp of November.)

Another service August provides us is the first hint that the year is getting on; the first indications of life beginning to slow down and move towards its unavoidable end. Already huge rolls of hay for winter grazing are appearing in the fields, and the grasses along the highways and roadsides once so thick, green, and full of life have become thin and strawy in color. And, is that a hint of early color I see in trees under stress from this summer’s lack of rainfall? These trees are already starting to lose their foliage, depositing their clothing on the still thick green lawns and hot pavements – early harbingers of a time when the fall colors will become ever numerous and more glorious before their final act is played out in days even shorter than they are now.

So, August to me was always a time of looking back and looking ahead. Days so perfect that you wanted to somehow figure out a way to take hold of them and keep them in your grasp for ever; nights so refreshing you wish you could bottle them up for safe-keeping during the long winter not so far away. And, as added excitement, the fact that this time of year began the period when one always had to keep an eye out on the tropics for any hurricanes that might think of sliding their way up the Atlantic Seaboard.

August is a series of bright blue days with flowers and grasses and a big blue ocean from which one can ponder the seasonal changes about to take place. It’s a joy to be able to make these pondrances possible when the weather is both warm and inviting; this is the gift that this month gives to those who call New England their home, and I’m glad this year I’ve been able to make it a part of my own year.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:52 | Comments Off on August in New England
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