July 28, 2013

North Cairn: A trace of September in summer

(Continued from page 1)

Last week it was possible to sleep at night without a cold electric hum, and there were evenings when I even shut down the whirr of floor and window fans, preferring the end-of-day bird song and the chorus of crickets for music at dusk.

I alternate between the brittle fracturing that grief over the loss of my dog has imposed on me and the quiet exhilaration nature exudes at of this time of year. The margins of the farm fields and the edges of the railroad beds are nearly toppling over with the fullness of summer, life so robust it is almost too much to embrace.

I skirt the edges of the wild foliage and watch the progression of the milkweed in bloom, the sumac like fiery candles on the branches. The black-eyed Susans in spots along the roads are clustered checkerboards of gold and black, and I glimpse the first signs of goldenrod in the landscape.

In the next town, on a major but still quiet road, someone who runs a cottage industry in pie-making -- available every Friday -- has hung a "Gone Fishin'" pronouncement over the usual hand-printed sign hawking the oven's wares.

Yard sale advertisements are still sprouting like weeds, posted on telephone poles, stuck into the earth on handmade spikes, and on weekends the philosophy of one-man's-trash-is-another-man's-treasure remains the law of the land. People barter and bicker over all sorts of stored-up "stuff" that either will sell or will be hauled to the landfill on Monday morning.

I make the rounds, ponder the purchase of a used grill, then remember that the mosquito and fly populations make my experience of dusk in southern Maine more like the Australian outback than the North American, up north, out-of-doors.

I broil steaks indoors, unless a picnic takes me to the rim of Casco's tidal flats, and only when dinner hour, a good ocean breeze and high tide hit simultaneously do I brave the conditions of coastal dining.

Still, I am hanging onto every last opportunity to catalog the memories of summer. I see September in that sun, and I am astonished to realize that it won't be long before I'll be glad I left the wood stove prepped with paper and kindling, and planned a cord ahead of the cold that goes on and on in winter.

Nothing about the season seems endless but the promise that the cycles of the year will keep on spinning. These sun-spent days are just spokes in the wheel.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

ncairn@pressherald.com

 

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