The last day of August is always bittersweet for me, as I’m sure it is for many. It shouldn’t be so monumental, I suppose. It’s just one day to the next. The weather’s usually about the same, the trees are still full and green, and there’s not even anything on the calendar of note, like the Autumnal Equinox, which doesn’t occur until September 23 this year.
It somehow is monumental though, saying goodbye to August. School has already started for most kids, and fall isn’t yet in the air, but this day feels more like the end of summer than any other. Even the two words evoke different feelings. August = long, lazy afternoons, corn on the cob and lemonade, late night sunsets. September = crisp new notebooks, leaves curling around the edges, reaching for that jacket for the first time since April.
The end of August invariably makes me think of all the things I planned to do this summer — mostly the things I had high hopes of accomplishing back in June but somehow didn’t get to.
There’s the tall stack of books on my nightstand I vowed to read, plans to take my laptop outside and write whatever came into my mind, and the revision of a WIP I aimed to tackle while my kids were busy with their summer jobs and activities.
The end of August is always a reflective time for me too. And as I look back, although I may not have read or written or revised as much as I planned, I did something else that’s equally important for writers, kids, teachers…everyone. I gave my brain a much-needed rest. I pondered. I picked blueberries. I spent time with my kids. I walked every day. I observed and listened and took stock. I watched fireflies and scratched mosquito bites and marveled at the beauty of the season.
Since we didn’t have an international data plan and couldn’t (gasp) use Google maps on our phones, my son and I found our way around Montreal with a good, old fashioned multi-folded paper map. I forgot how fun and satisfying that is. He loved it, and so did I.
My younger daughter and I discovered Madison’s best ice cream at The Chocolate Shoppe, where a sign proudly proclaims their ice cream isn’t low fat, low calorie or low anything, and if you want something nutritious, eat carrots. Gotta love that.
My older daughter and I laughed for days about how her flip flop was swallowed up in a deep, muddy patch of blueberry bushes in Michigan. She finished filling her bucket while barefoot, mud squishing between her toes. Instagraming the moment, of course.
So there were things accomplished this summer. Many things. Things that perhaps can’t take place in any other season. And now, as September first arrives tomorrow, I will turn to my reading stack and laptop and WIP, feeling sad that August is over, but re-energized to start anew.
Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days and Calli Be Gold, both from Wendy Lamb Books. Visit her at micheleweberhurwitz.com.