The summer of 2011 is quickly coming to a close. This is evidenced by many tell-tale signs. There are back to school sales at the stores, school sports practices have begun, county fairs are wrapping up, and the professional football teams are in camp. Games behind in the baseball pennant race is actually starting to mean something. In a couple of weeks, the schools will be packed with eager students. A few weeks later, the trees will start changing colors in the far north east and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

All of this is a relief; relief from the heat that most of the country has endured over the last month, relief from houses crowded with kids of all ages, and the bounty of the harvest soon to be gathered. Each of the seasons has benefits and drawbacks. The change between the seasons can be inspiring and relaxing. For those who live in the north, the transition from winter to spring is a release from the confinements of the home. In the Deep South, it is autumn that signals the drop in temperatures that many crave.

Summer is the season of playing. The holidays and events that fill summer are for the whole family. The kids are out of school and most adults take vacations to take advantage of warm and usually dry weather. But all playing must eventually be followed by rest. As we approach the end of summer, we gather. Physically, we gather the crops, emotionally we gather our memories. We settle into a routine of school and work that will last far into next spring, with a few holidays sprinkled in. The Holidays ahead require planning and organization.

Summer is much more free wheeling. On the fourth of July, no-one worried if Granddad and Grandma would get through the storm, or if Aunt Sally would like the gift. In summer, gatherings are spontaneous and open ended. There is more daylight, and more life. This season ends with feeling for regret. Some people will try to pack in as much as possible before September actually arrives. But rather than regret, consider all of the activities that will fill next summer. And if you are out and about, cook one more hot dog on the grill for me.

 

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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