I feel it in the early morning air. On the back patio this morning I said to Brad, “There’s a hint of autumn today.” He shook his head no. But I felt it, a wisp, suspended like gossamer threads beneath the river birch tree. Autumn…on its way.
The kids go back to school next Wednesday – Noah starts eighth grade, Rowan fifth. Don’t faint dead on the floor when I say this, but I’m not ready; I’m not ready for summer to end. I know. Unprecedented. Usually I’m in full-out count-down mode by now. Maybe it’s because I’m dreading full-time immersion into the Luther project. But I don’t think so…I don’t think that’s the whole story.
This summer was good, really good. Maybe the best yet. We traveled a lot, explored new places together, spent a lot of time winding along new roads. We sang out loud together with B-107.3. I’m even starting to learn some of the words to the latest pop songs. But when The Police come on the radio, or U2, or Madonna, and I know all the lyrics, every last one, Rowan always asks, “Is this one of your songs? Did you sing this one when you were a kid?”
The boys stay up late now. From my bed in the dark, I can see the light from Noah’s bedside lamp, a thin line, a boundary, beneath his bedroom door. They sleep until the sun has risen high over the white pines. They cook up their own waffles in the toaster oven. This week Brad taught them how to run a load of laundry while I was at the library, and they washed and dried their sheets and comforters themselves.
They read for hours and hours at a time, sprawled on the sofa, legs flung over the arm or propped on the back, feet against a window pane. Sometimes when I walk through the room I startle, glance again. Those long legs look nearly like the legs of men.
I don’t typically live in the backward glance. I don’t bemoan what I may have missed; I don’t sit square in regret. I’m a striver, a planner, a what’s nexter. My eyes are on the future, not the past.
Lately, though, when I glimpse those long almost-man legs, when I snuggle next to Rowan and realize the length of him nearly matches mine, the pangs of nostalgia strike sharp. A reminder, perhaps, that summer does not last forever. Autumn is on its way.