Monday, August 13, 2007

The Setting Summer Sun

It seems to me I notice the passing of the seasons at the first sign of change. Right now, the shadows are lengthening; there is a bite to Wind again, at times, and Sun's warmth doesn't last overnight.

Storms that occur are showing the gentle side of their faces; they will gain in ferocity as time passes. Here, on the East Side of the Island, there can be less Rain than on the West, however, the Wind Storms happen more often.

In the shade, too, there is an underlying cool touch on the skin, reminding me of crisp, cool Autumn days.

But it is still Summer, in children's eyes. Each day is a shimmering jewel, an unknown path in which to explore the minutest speck of life. The World is filled with possibilities, each more enticing than the last. It is a thrilling season; children do not notice the passage of time, they do not notice the lengthening shadows...

In the adult world, however, it is time to return to schedules and routines, it is time to gather the required accessories to those routines...the school clothing, the school supplies, the planning of activities, the equipment needed to execute those extracurricular activities...

And children, jolted out of that freedom Summer brings, are required to make choices, difficult ones, for them. A day is a long time; a three month stint at Piano lessons is a lifetime.

As I sat on my stoop the other day, contemplating the day, a little girl and her mother walked by, just having come from the Pool up the road. They were discussing the upcoming Autumn season...they were discussing which of those extra activities the little girl might take.

It turns out the child wanted to take swimming lessons; mother explained that the rule was one sport and one creative activity for the Fall season. She explained to her daughter the choice was similar to Tap Dancing and Piano lessons. So if she wanted Swimming, then there could be no Soccer.

And her little one asked, with real apprehension...But Dad wants me to take Soccer. Will I make him mad?

As they drifted out of my range of hearing, I remembered another overheard conversation, this one situated in the School Supplies department of a local store. A small boy and his father were choosing amongst the brightly coloured binders, different shades of pens and crayons of every known hue. The boy's eyes were what drew me...his expression as he stared at the amazing array of colour was awestruck, as if he'd suddenly discovered a passion he hadn't realized he had.

He was beyond words, touching the paints, the crayons, the brightly coloured paper, with reverence, as if he couldn't imagine there was anything in the World this beautiful...

His father was occupied with a book on World Soccer. His son's unusual quiet contemplation jolted his awareness; he watched the boy for awhile, his eyes softening, a look of knowing...of understanding... entering his expression.

Would Mom be mad if I took Drawing instead of Piano?...asked his boy.

No, his father said, with conviction, No, she wouldn't be angry.

Sometimes choices, in parenting, must be made for another, in the Autumn, when the Summer Sun sets. When a child discovers that choices can make another angry, can make someone else disappointed, can change the whole World overnight, he finds there are consequences to following his dreams.

So, sometimes dreams become just that...a wish for a different way, a yearning for an inexplicable passion...when a choice is made to please another. And sometimes, there is another close at hand who understands there may be different dreams, a gift coming out of nowhere for the lucky recipient. And who will stand strong in favour of it.

The Air is rife with the choices, the promises, the new cycles that begin when the Summer Sun hangs lower in the Sky. Unfulfilled dreams do seem to fill, as the days shorten, gathering urgency. Agonizing decisions are made, compromises agreed upon.

It is the way of things...this turning of the Wheel, and the changes, good and bad, that it brings. The opportunities taken and the chances lost...children learn very early these days that choices must be made, and that those choices don't always follow the dreams that are inside.

But for young children, the warm, sunny August days, the ones that seem to have no end, beckon, letting dreams and aspirations for the upcoming season fall away.

September's Sun seems far away, fading into the background, when right now, there is still so much to see and do...right now, this very moment.

And so it goes.


  1. I've just posted this story on another blog about parenting. But never mind - there must be something in the air:

    I once came across a new father in a maternity ward talking about all the games of football he was going to have with his son. "But what if he doesn't like sport?" somebody asked him. The guy's mouth gaped open. "He'd better..." he muttered.

    If only all parents could understand that allowing their children to be themselves is what is most important.

  2. Naomi sent me. Congratulations on your Creative Blogger Award!

    I loved your post. Right now my mind is in summer, as I'm trying to live one day at a time. It's hot, it's uncomfortable at times, but its summer...I can eat a plum. I can go barefoot. I can see the Big Dipper!

  3. We're in the middle of the hottest string of 100+ days in the last 50 years! So, it's a little hard for me to be thinking about Fall right now. Many an adult has finished their education only to realize that they have a degree in something their parents wanted, but not what they wanted. Sad.

  4. I saw a reminder the other day that autumn is on its way. Our Blackheaded gulls loose their balck head in winter and when I passed a flock of them, their heads were white. We have had very little summer here this year.

  5. I love this post. Now I want to clean my closets and see what I have to wear to school this fall. Oh, wait. I'm not in school any more.

    You made me feel as if autumn is here, and that's nice, because we're in the middle of a heat wave. Thank you.

  6. Marion, this is one of my favorite times of year and your post is so wonderfully written. Yes, it is sweltering throughout much of the States. Yet, as I sat outside at a convocation Tuesday evening, I saw a few oak leaves flutter down. Yes, it is time.

  7. Simon,

    It is a selfish reaction, I think, when parents want something for their child they perhaps never experienced, or because it is their passion. But a child is an individual, and sometimes his ideas may embarrass of discomfort his parents' in some way. It can be difficult to overlook this, when parents are enthralled with something else.


    Indeed, right now, it is summer. Kudos to you for living in the moment, and loving everything about summer!

    However, sign-up for extracurricular activities is now, and can't be avoided.

    Thank you for visiting!

    DB, I realize, as I answer these comments, that most of the States is under a heat wave, it seems. Here, the weather is unusually cool...our Summer heat wave lasted three or four days, I think.

    At the moment, the forecast is for three or four days of rain...last week's sunny weather only a memory.

    Davem, what a great observation! A herald of an early Winter, perhaps. There is a bumper crop of berries, this year...all kinds are giving huge amounts of fruit for the freezer. That is said to be a sign of a hard Winter.

    Barbara, seems this post,coming from where I live, has many of my readers from the States wondering what touches of cool I'm talking about!

    But time marches on...soon you'll feel the cool.

    Sheila, Welcome Back. As I sit writing this, there is a Thunder Storm of huge proportions rumbling away, making the dogs cower under my desk.

    I am wrapped in a sweater, as doesn't seem to me Autumn is very far away.