Friday, August 21, 2009


With any necessary apologies and/or due credit to Mr. Rogers…it’s a beautiful day here on the riverbank. Really—a beautiful, beautiful day!
Yesterday and the day before were mostly quick changeovers between dark and light as on-and-off showers ruled. Fine days themselves while they lasted, even welcome. But now the sky spreads a vast canopy in Maxfield Parrish blue, with herds of puffy white clouds scattered about like grazing sheep. It’s also quite breezy and a bit cool, and as I watch the wind stirring through the huge leaves on tall sycamores, there’s no doubt whatsoever that fall is on the way.
This should come as no surprise if you’ve glanced at the calendar lately. August is almost over. And yes, I admit September is still officially considered three-quarters summer. Just not by me.
When I think “summer” I always think…June, July, August. I do not think…only a smidgen of June, but most of September.
Maybe this stems from childhood. For a kid, summer was both a season plus a state of mind and body. And it emphatically ended that wretched day when your parole was abruptly and cruelly revoked.
One moment you were enjoying the daily bliss of complete freedom—romping about Elysian woods and fields; the next, you were captured and unceremoniously hauled off to resume serving another nine-month chunk of unjust incarceration. As you hunched over a scarred desk, in a room that smelled of chalk and institutional disinfectant, not to mention those faint sour-sharp undertones of sweat and possibly puke—numb of soul, depressed, and fast developing a slaughter-lot mentality at the prospects ahead—there was not a particle of your being that believed in a continuing summer beyond your prison walls…even though parents and every other adult kept insisting that school is good for you and one day you’ll appreciate having an education.
Huh? I was learning plenty gamboling along the creek, collecting fossils, grabbing at frogs, squirming though willow thickets like a reptile!
Who cares about the Napoleonic Wars! Do I look French? Will learning about gerunds help me catch sunfish? And what’s the big deal about Shakespeare? I’d rather read Edgar Rice Burroughs and Mickey Spillane!
Okay…perhaps I got a bit carried away there. I didn't mean to digress. Suffice it to say I have a difficult time, even now, considering September as anything other than autumn. And all that aside, the fact of the matter remains…today—bright, cool, stirred by winds of change—was a genuine reminder that summer, no matter how you count it, is winding down.


Scattering Lupines said...

The tedious and taxing requirements to know Shakespeare as an English major always made me fume! It STILL can't keep Macbeth and Hamlet straight in my head. Give me the Bronte sisters and some Hemingway on the side ANY day over Shakespeare!

Enjoying your grace and wit with words and your AMAZING photography.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

"Thank you" for the hope that change IS coming. It is still SO hot and humid here I can barely step outside to feed my nature friends. I am listening to tornado predictions and thunderstorm warnings on the news. Hopefully by Sunday it is suppose to 'clear out' and that's only if hurricaine Bill stays on course - if he veres even a smidge to the left we are gong to get a straight hit Sunday morning. Here's hoping it will stay East and out to sea, and that Sunday will prove to be cool and dry.
And I so agree about summer being over once August has come and gone. ANd I am SO glad as you know I really dislike summer. ick.
I think I ma a tad cranky because I am confined due to the oppressive weather. Health wise the heat is harmful to me so I am pretty much home bound. Okay, no complaints, it is lovely here - I have A/C and music and my computer and TV and a phone and food and beer, Good Lord I sounded before like a whining brat. Wah Wah!! I can't stand myself when I sound like that.
Oh well, and Grizz - your memories of your school sound pretty awful!! :-) All true and all awful. I was right there with you. schools were the same here in Connecticut. ick.
I want to throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum. okay?

Love you
peace and fuss

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


Well, I did eventually come to appreciate Mr. Shakespeare, though I still wouldn't recognize a gerund if I fell over it, although I'm fairly accurate on nouns and verbs. I keep Hamlet and Macbeth straight via witches and ghosts—there are ghosts in both, but only Macbeth sports witches. Hemingway, on the other hand, goes fishing occasionally.

Hey, I really like your blog. You're probably not going to find any good andouille or dirty rice in Charlotte, you know—though you might find a catfish joint…might.

I'm pleased you stopped by the riverbank and liked what you saw and read. Don't be a stranger. You're always welcome here!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


I'm amazed that it's cool down here and hot up there. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? But I'll keep my fingers crossed re. Hurricane Bill.

Yes, you do sound a tad cranky, and you have every right to be cranky so far as I'm concerned. I hate hot, sticky, humid, muggy, sweltering, late-summer weather. When the Dog Days come around, I find them insufferable and usually want to crawl under the porch WITH the hounds and lay with my belly pressed against the cool dirt. Except I'm so cranky no self-respecting hound would lay with me, and I'd be stuck under the porch by myself.

Nevertheless, feel free to be as cranky as you like—I understand.

As to school…okay, I'm not going to go there. Here's the truth: The teachers did their best, God knows! It's just that Irish bullheadedness goes all the way to the bone. I got through school by reading—novels, biographies, adventure books…NOT textbooks. Didn't matter whether it was Algebra or World History, I read my way through it; science I liked and so occasionally paid attention. The problem was not the school or the teachers, but me. I wanted to explore in the woods, fish, play music, have adventures, and read. And if you look at what I do for a living, in spite of education, I haven't changed a whit!

(Maybe I need to throw myself on the floor and pitch my own tantrum? Nahhhhh!)

Jenn Jilks said...

As the mother of an actor who specializes in the UK accent, I enjoy Shakespeare! It helps him remain independent. He and his girlfriend are both appearing in A Midsommer Night's Dream. Rather bizarre, if you ask me. But as a mom of adult young people I really do not have a vote!

We had great storms yesterday.
It is nature.
I embrace the changes!

Gail said...

Oh Grizz-

"thank you, thank you, thank you" for your kind understanding and for your humor as well. I laughed right out loud at you under the porch, belly down in the dirt and your dog leaving you there because you were cranky - funny image, for sure. :-)

And I Understand your academic path - and your love of nature and how they conflicted - you are doing exactly what you believe in as far as I can see -

and speaking of seeing, this may be a bit presumptuous of me but I would love to see some photos of your cottage , inside and outside? Too personal? I understand if you don't feel right about that.
Have a cool night
Love to you

Bernie said...

Hi Grizz, we are under a tornado watch at the moment, all is so is an eerie feeling I am having.
I loved school, more for a social life than learning. My favorite subjects were history and literature, algebra and languages. Unfortunately I seldom use in my adult life what I learned in school.
My favortie season is Fall but I so wanted a bit more summer and like you I feel Fall in the air each day now.
I don't fancy change but love all the seasons and enjoy seeing them change from one into another.
I can hear the thunder and my lights are flickering so must sign off before I loose power.
Have a great weekend....:-) Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


Well, it is good to hear that as the mother of a young adult, you're one of the rare few who recognizes and accepts her nonexistent voting rights. Your sanity and equanimity are far more apt to remain intact.

With luck, after he's become a slightly older adult, and thus realized that he not only doesn't have all the answers, but doesn't even understand most of the questions, it may begin to occur to him that Mom is either wiser than he originally thought, or has—against all scientific reasoning—been gaining I.Q. points while he wasn't watching.

When this happens, in regards to the affected accent, you might point out that Benny Hill and Laurence Olivier both spoke with UK accents and occasionally dabbled at Shakespeare. I don't know what that says about personal independence, but I think there's a message in there somewhere. :-)

Ahh, kids!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


Hey, if I were a hound, I wouldn't hang out under the porch with a guy like me either if he was hot-weather cranky.

One of these days I will take some cottage photos—inside and out.

Wanda said...

You had me feeling "SO SORRY" for my grandchildren with this paragraph-

"One moment you were enjoying the daily bliss of complete freedom—romping about Elysian woods and fields; the next, you were captured and unceremoniously hauled off to resume serving another nine-month chunk of unjust incarceration."

But, I don't remember feeling a smimilar way about my children's end of summer.

Today was especially nice and breezy!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


Hope you come through the storms okay; please let us know.

Just to set the record straight…I didn't exactly dislike school—I've always loved learning. But I was simply bored to death during school. Reading was my escape, my refuge. I could generally do the work and pass the tests without studying, and was thus much happier spending my hours in the world of books.

To make matters worse, I never cared at all for organized sports, though in high school I was on the tennis team, the fencing team, and played football. By nature, however, I'm not a "team" player. Not a herd animal. And I have a persistent dislike of swimming with the current; better to head upstream, buck the flow, find the source. T

Most of my friends went to other schools, and I never dated any girl who went to my high school. So I wasn't part of the social mix, didn't give a hoot about "the Big Game," or a dance, didn't party—and just plain didn't have much in common with any of my peers…or care in the least.

I've always been, like my father, grandfather, and probably every male before them in the clan's line, "as independent as a hog on ice." At least that's how my mother put it.

But…I didn't actually hate school. There were just other places I'd rather have been, and other things, I'd have rather been doing.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


Well of course you didn't feel the same way about YOUR children…you were deaf and blind by virtue of Parental Perspective. You were acting in their best interests, not their fervent desires. Doing the right thing made YOU feel good, while simultaneously numbing you to THEIR desperation and loathing.

You were simply being a Mom!

Now, however, as a Grandmother, the veil has been lifted. You can understand suffer with them, if only just a bit—because you understand the trauma and near-treason involved. (You still did the right thing AS A MOM; but now you can be sympathetic AS A GRANDMOTHER.)

Ain't life wonderful!

KGMom said...

Indeed summer was a state of mind when I was a mere youth. I can still summon up the feeling of padding along a hot tarmac road walking to the little grocery store where we could buy ice-cream or a Coke in one of the lovely old bottles.

As for Shakespeare--humph--you know my thoughts. I will have to launch a round of blogs on loving your Shakespeare. I LOVE SHAKESPEARE! There, I said it.

As for keeping Hamlet and Macbeth straight--jeez--Hamlet can't bring himself to do anything (hardly) and Macbeth (helped along by Lady Macbeth) can't stop doing things.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


No need to apologize re. Shakespeare…we all have our peculiarities. :-)

Actually, I'm growing ever fonder of Shakespeare for both language AND literary fruits—mostly the plays. So while you can threaten me with Shakespearian blogs, be advised I will likely enjoy them. You do know the story of Br'er Rabbit's briar patch.

Summer, when I was growing up, wasn't a season, but a place—a land of sun and heat, of green woods and buzzing bees, going barefoot, making mud pies, and cornfields rattling in a dry August noon; it was swimming in the creek, catching lightening bugs and putting them in a Mason jar you kept by your bed, the sound of cicadas, the smell of cut grass, frogs croaking in the night, sitting on the back steps as twilight gave to darkness and watching bats sifting between the stars for mosquitoes. It was sharing the glider on the front porch at Grandpa's while the old folks told their stories, going to Bible school in the mornings and the drive-in movie with my Aunt Iva, eating watermelon and drinking iced tea and a thousand other pleasures that made summer land such a wonderful place in a boy's heart.

Lord, but wouldn't I love to find my way back there again…

Jayne said...

Being where we are on the map, the seasons are very distinct, and though I love them all, I think I love the "winds of change" time the best. Just when I am sick and tired of the cold, spring slowly creeps in... oh, joy! And then, just about the time I am reeeeeally sick and tired of the heat and humididity (yes, that's Southern humidity), the winds of fall breeze in and the heat is a distant memory. The cycle of the seasons... reminds me that life does indeed go on.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


I'm with you on this—the best times of the year are those changeover weeks, a sort of mini-season that's neither this nor that, but something mixed with a bit of both beginning and end and lots of different weather.

Life does go on…

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

You made me smile with that Fall Feeling...I live in California, but I am determined to have fall here one way or another. I am lucky enough to have some large old trees out on the this morning as I took Buddy for his morning walk..a breeze blew by, some leaves scattered..and we felt it.......

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...


It is really cool here in southwester-Ohio today—cloudy, too. By rights, we ought to be sweltering amid high humidity and temps in the 90s; but right now, it 68 degrees out. It really doesn't require much imagination today to feel the seasonal wheel turning.

But least I offend the weather gods—I want to hastily add that none of the above is a complaint. I've loved this summer's weather…even if I do have to cut the grass every 12 hours.

Glad to find you've stopped by the riverbank and found something you liked—and hope you visit regularly. Please know you're always welcome.