Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Dog Days" heat up, but August brings a certain grace

ANY DAY NOW. We’re on the brink of August. These are Dog Days (officially, July 3-August 11). For the first time I can remember I am anticipating the surprise lilies that will any day now shoot a single, leafless stalk out of the dry ground, climb to 24 inches and produce a beautiful flower. In Indianapolis the onset of August means NASCAR good ol’ boys have rolled in and out of town for the Brickyard 400. It means two-a-day soccer practices, varsity tryouts and anticipation of return to school--on August 11, believe it or not!

AUGUST ALARM CLOCK. August steals its way into our summer world. Amid camps and trips and enduring the heat and outdoor recreation, we happen to look at the calendar and...it’s August. Already? Like waking to an annoying alarm clock, we respond to August with denial, then protest, and then we hit the snooze button. Denial buys a week or two. Just a few more weeks of a slower pace. A few more stretches of R & R. Let summer continue a bit longer, we pray.

MIXED MESSAGES. The heat says its summer, but the calendar says it’s the brink of a child’s senior year of high school. One will be marrying. One will soon be returning to college. Another will begin his Sophomore year of high school. Already soccer conditioning has heated up. Vacation Bible School is in progress and Autumn on the horizon begs planning. Responsibility urges us to move forward and opportunity bids us press through, even as the chirping cicadas on a hot summer evening would lull us back into summer slumber.

THE GRACE OF AUGUST. We don’t leave summer completely in August, or at least it doesn’t leave us. It is in August, when the unique experiences and moments of summer begin to be numbered, that we realize that we have been blessed by summer. This is the month when we savor summer, linger with its graces. Though September is on the horizon, perhaps the best days of summer are still to come.

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