The Regrets of Summer

It’s August. I have a couple of friends who, like me, can’t help but start to fret this time of year. Summer is almost over! It’s hard to enjoy it when you know what’s coming around the corner: back to school, cold weather, the dark days of winter. Yeah, yeah some of you love fall, but to me it’s just a dire warning of dark days to come. We girls of summer constantly ask each other and wonder, why does summer go so fast and winter last…so…damn…long?

August is a time when you kind of have to give up and get to work at the same time.

Here’s what you have to give up: weeding. Just forget it. The weeds have won again for this year. The other thing to give up is the idea that you’re going to get everything on your summer wish list done. Consider yourself lucky if you got half of it done. But there is always more, isn’t there? Whether it’s a garden project or a day trip or a party you thought of having…let it go. Let it go until next year. Or just get over it. It’s too late now, anyway. The other thing to give up on is the idea that you were finally going to “get in shape” and have a perfect beach body. Just be grateful if you had a few good runs or got in some other physical activities. Yes, wave jumping and floating in water count (because I SAY SO).

Still on my list for this summer: floating down the Delaware River in an inner tube and making a pilgrimage to Asbury Park. It’s still possible, but there are only a few weeks left….

While August seems like it should be the laziest month because, frankly, just about everybody takes off for vacation, even if they aren’t French, it’s also when everything in the garden becomes RIPE and INSISTS on being picked, cooked, preserved, and in general dealt with. Most of August I have a backache from standing over the counter and stove chopping and stirring. Tomatoes into sauce. Basil into pesto. Savoy cabbage into…savoy cabbage. Drying the cayenne pepper to go with the savoy cabbage. Digging up the garlic and potatoes. Oh, and that giant bushel of pears from the tree we just happened to discover in our wild front yard? I can’t let them go to waste! And then I get obsessed. Is this the year to finally try pickles? At least refrigerator pickles? Oh, the drama of it all! But at least I know I’ll have the tastes of summer all winter long in my freezer when I need to remember what sunshine tastes like.

I could cry. But I’m determined to enjoy every last minute, even though it’s like a sad movie, and you already know what its ending will be. Tragic. Where are my tissues?

I have to go outside and lie on my couch and listen to the crickets and soak it all in. Because summer is the best thing ever and it’s almost over, and I wish it weren’t. But it is.


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11 Responses to The Regrets of Summer

  1. Peter August 14, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    It’s self-pity season, and the harvest is rich! But really Maria, aren’t you at least a little guilty of NOT fully appreciating the last two steps in the natural cycle of growth, harvest, rest, and regeneration? There’s a reason the trees turn scarlet in October: they’re throwing a party because they finally get to relax a little. You can too. Put up your own energy stores for next growing season, reflect on what worked and what didn’t this summer, plot and plan and learn before the next growth spurt. It’s going to flow this way, so why fight it? Turn scarlet! Be fabulously fallow! Eat figs!

  2. maria (farm country kitchen) August 14, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Peter, I’d like it more if it wasn’t so cold! And dark! Maybe I need to fly South…

  3. Paula August 14, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Oh, this post goes right to my heart. My husband’s birthday is July 17th and for me, that’s the halfway point of the good days. I try to keep focused on how much good time is left rather than how fast it’s going, but it’s hard because summertime is so fleeting here in the Northeast (NYC and upstate NY) where I live now. It’s not just how long, and cold, and dark winters are — it’s the greyness, the absence of all the beautiful shades of green, of the play of light through tree leaves on my walls, the rustle of wind in the leaves, the smells of green and growing things. I try to adapt by throwing myself into fall activities and Christmas, but after Christmas it is SO long until the green happy times in May. Oh, Maria, I hope I haven’t made it worse by commiserating!

  4. J. Cummings August 14, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    I love this post, Maria. I find myself in a season of “regret” – regretting not loving more, living more, laughing more. August is a time of savoring. and with that reminiscing. I am savoring butterflies and blackberries…. and holding on to each second of summer.

    Soon the sun will set far too early. Is it true that we can reset our biological clocks by living only within our circadian rhythms — dawn to dusk? If so, this year I may try to
    tune out the chatter of information and find that inner self — singing through the winter somehow. Perhaps with your beautiful blog-postings we can get through the winter together. Thank you for these !

  5. Donna in Delaware August 14, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Even though we hate it, there is a reason for seasons. I HATE SUMMER!!!!!! Always have, since childhood. I get that depressed feeling whenever February leaves. I hate sweating and perspiring, feeling sticky and yucky, but I love the fact that I can grow my own food, and that it culminates in the activities that Maria describes, backache and all! Having that summer flavor all fall and winter is a culinary blessing. To savor the fruits of the harvest and our labor makes it all worthwhile. So it comes full circle every year. Those who love summer, and those who love fall and winter, but can still appreciate what each season have to offer, despite of our biases against them. That’s the beauty of the seasons. Nevertheless, enjoy them!

  6. Donna in Delaware August 14, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Btw, I’m headed off to Iceland in a couple of weeks. It’s only 50 something degrees. I’m feeling calmer just thinking about it!

  7. Mullein August 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Yep, I, too, see summer peaking and the season cycle progressing forward… Just the other day, here in Wisconsin, I noticed the goldenrods starting to bloom. That’s my annual August reminder that summer’s almost over… But I’ve learned to trust in the cycle. Sure, winter is coming (Eeek! Shades of the Starks, LOL) and yep, there’s those dark gray “winter” clouds up in the sky. So I begin to get ready. The woodpile increases, the garden is harvested and put up, and the vehicles and house are winterized. And I start to look forward to hunting, ice fishing and not feeling guilty for throwing another log on the fire to warm up these old bones of mine. 🙂 And before we know it – it’ll be spring again, and muddy! The cycle continues… and I embrace it, cuz yanno, I’m not quite ready for the alternative… 🙂

  8. Alice Green August 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Well, I have to agree with Donna, as Summer is my least favorite season. I don’t hate Summer, as it brings flowers, butterflies, fresh food, but I do hate the heat. I was born hot, and have always suffered from heat. Living in Colorado helps as it is always cool at night, and there is no humidity to speak of, but I love, love, love the Fall and Spring. My two favorite seasons because of the fall colors and the promise of cool weather, and the anticipation of the new flowers and leaves and color in the spring. I don’t mind the winter as the deep snow falls up in the high country and we get just enough in Wheat Ridge to be grateful for the moisture in this desert country. So I guess the truth is, I love the whole year, but don’t love those days of high heat. So I guess I am just spoiled, and glad of it. Thanks for the chance to express my love for the seasons of my life!

  9. Barbara August 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    I love the balance of it all. How it is hot in summer, cold in winter, and warming up or cooling down in spring and autumn. There is so much to look forward to in each season I never get bored. Do often wish the growing season was a little longer, especially this summer as it has been more like spring going right into autumn here in northcentral Nebraska, with just a week or two of really hot weather. My tomatoes are not even blushing yet, but I have had broccoli growing nicely throughout it all with lots of side shoots still forming. Still have lots not done though. Always more on the ‘want to do’ list than can realistically be fit into the few months of summer. Sigh. But I will keep on it until the very last. Thank you for continuing to write thought provoking posts, even if this one now has me thinking of all the things yet left undone… 🙂

  10. Elizabeth J Farkas August 16, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I don’t think you want to fly South to find more sunny summer days because, frankly, it is wet and cool down here this summer. Instead of the usual 90-100 degree temperatures we are accustomed to here in the Southeast. We are lucky to hit a day over 89 degrees. And speaking of gardens and bountiful harvests; this year unless people are growing under hoop houses or have really fantastic raised beds, in-ground gardens have suffered from all the rain, cloudy days in between and the onslaught of more bugs than usual. It has not been a typical summer down here in the Southeast. It is more reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest!
    Best Regards, EJFarkas

  11. Linda August 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    O Maria , I am Right There with you!

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