I feel it the moment I open the laundry room door and step onto the stoop, an ever-so-slight difference in the air. Collin just got home, another late evening, the kids and I have already eaten dinner and the boys are busy telling him about their day and begging him to look for the walkie-talkies. Stella is tucked in her highchair banging her sippy cup and randomly squealing with delight – she likes to be a part of the action too. Collin tries to eat a taco while talking to the baby and acknowledging the urgency in finding those hand-held gadgets; they are all distracted and it’s a perfect time for me to step outside to take the morning’s laundry down.
The yard is still and the quiet that surrounds me is in stark contrast to the bubbling energy inside – I can actually hear myself think. As I pinch the hooks to release the shirts I realize the clothes on the far east end of the line are in the shade; just last week at this same time at night it was still full sun back here. I ponder this as the clothes whip about in the breeze; a breeze that has just a sliver of a bite to it.
As I fold the last pair of pants I look up and see my hanging basket; the only yellow set of flowers in a sea of pinks and purples this year. It’s in rough shape, the very tippy top has a bit of luscious green with a flower or two blooming (thanks to the recent rain) but the majority of the branches are brown and shriveled. It looks like a bad haircut. “Ha! Mullets aren’t very becoming on plants,” I muse to myself. Watering plants was the one outside chore I tried to keep up on this summer but in the last few weeks I’ve let the rain take care of business and quite honestly, if it doesn’t rain I don’t plan to put much more effort into this task – I see the mums are already making their debut in the nurseries, it’s probably time for these impatiens to slip quietly into the night anyway. Next to the basket hangs the Oriole feeder; the remnants of dried up oranges and sticky jelly are screaming to be cleaned and the feeder put away for the season. We never had any more orioles after the last fill, just bumble bees.
I head inside to round up the troops and the dog slips out the door with them so I put her on the leash and try my best to maneuver her and the stroller. The big boys ride their bikes in front of me and then turn their heads nearly 180 degrees in order to shout out questions – “IS THIS THE ONE WITH THE DEER?? Does it have a GIRAFFE?” I plan to take them to the zoo up North on Friday and they are trying to remember all the details from their last visit.
Out of nowhere Nolan comes careening in from behind us – his bike is neon orange and his helmet has three inch green spikes in the shape of a mohawak – you really can’t miss him and as he catches up to his brothers the three of them ride off in a hurry to the end of the cul-de-sac. I breathe in the air slowly, letting it fill my lungs, and then exhale ever so gently; an evening walk is a luxury the summer months simply didn’t allow and I don’t want to take even a second of it for granted.
This summer has been….full, hectic, intense. I always feel a bit out of whack during the rush of the summer and between the boys sports schedules, work deadlines, and engagements that filled up weekends and sometimes required travel, this summer has been no different. Most of the season felt like an arduous swim upstream and a portion of it felt like out right drowning. But in the last few nights I have felt the shift – schedules are easing and a new, slower, rhythm is starting to emerge. We haven’t delved back in to school yet but that is coming soon and I think we’re all anxious for the return of the routine. Yes, there is a slight difference in the air, one that always seems to come at this time of year, and I’m welcoming it with open arms….hello, September.