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Summers End

This article first appeared in issue 21, and was written by Margaret Dunn.

Spring burst forth through the death of winter, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon in its own death is transfigured into lush summer.

The end of summer is a sad time, a time of looking back, perhaps because with each summer's passing, something once loved, once lovely, is lost. Because something in each of us dies, that will not come back again. Illusions, hopes, young summer love, some small bright dreams.

Our lives are measured in the summers that we live, not in the great events that shape our world but in the small bits of life that break away and lodge within the memory.

The sounds of nature of each season.

The smell of roses, of new mown hay.

The color of morning glories. A beautiful sunset.

The feel of a soft summer wind in your face.

Summer is the time for dreams and believing they will come true, before believing dies and knowledge closes in.

Summer is a time of things that slip away from us, of memories that years erode; of feelings, sights and smells that won't come back again. Summer is a time for mostly idling way. A time when you are too big to be a child and too small to be an adult.

A time for filling our nostrils, lungs and souls with the sounds, smells, and memories of a time in life which will never be again, living with the clouds and the bird song. Music that only the young can hear. Music of the wind in the trees on a summer afternoon. The pipes of spring made richer by the woodwinds of summer.

Summer begins as we become aware of the sounds, smells and sights, and ends when childhood ends.

Then came a summer when things began to change. The sounds were still there. Just not as clear as before. There were other sounds. A distant calling. I could not understand yet it was there. A part of me yearned to go, yet the call of the hills and the wind still wanted me to say. Then that other sound from the other side of the hill called louder.

With a mixture of excitement and sadness, and almost shame to be deserting what had been so dear, had given me so much. I left that summer on the hill and in the valley.

I didn't know it then, but that was summer's end.

I thought of this place. I knew the moon was just as bright. I could hear the leaves in slow motion touch the ground, the rustle as they fell. I knew the little stream still sparkled in the moonlight. I knew the night birds still called.

I knew beyond knowing that somewhere in those hills the pipes of summer were playing softly their wild sweet song, but they would never play again for me.

I sensed that somewhere in these hills a door was closing softly. I had passed through and would not return.

I was right.

I have gone back since, but not to what I left behind. Not to what I had and gave away, as each of us must surrender his youth, as each of us must see that summers end.

I think of it now that another summer is ending and only memories remain.

This story was posted on 1998-07-15 12:01:01
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