August in Vermont is a happy time. The gardens are bursting with color and flavor. Every walk to the garden means at least one handful of sweet Sun Golds. The days are warm as we soak up the last of the sun that will have to hold us through January. Sometimes just thinking back to the quilts on the lawn, the dogs jumping through the hose, and days spent splashing in the pond is enough.
But the secret of August happens at the ends of the day. We wake up to chilly breezes blowing throw the house. When I go out to let the chickens out temperatures are in the fifties and sixties. In the old days back in the Midwest this was autumn weather. We would get out our fall sweaters and they might be too much by afternoon but after the heatwaves of summer we craved the excuse. Here we like to hold the sweaters back for the real thing of which there will be plenty. We don’t want to rush into cold weather. So I wrap myself in a soft pashmina in bright summery colours and pad out to the chicken house. The warmth of the afternoon gets bookended by a wonderful chilliness that hints at what is around the next corner.
Our youngest Eli is sixteen this summer. A couple of years ago he told us he didn’t want to grow up. He has a driver’s permit now and hangs out with boys who are starting to look like men. But he has surely kept a kid’s summer and taught me how to keep it as well. He plays late night poker around a table littered with too much soda and piles and piles of chips and chocolate. He swims in a local pond and fishes in the rivers. On really hot nights he and his friends sneak into the neighbor’s pool. They are second homeowners so the sneaking is easy. The kids got caught and had to apologize to the caretaker just once so far this summer. He kept their (our) towels. But within days they were back to sneaking and John and I were back to looking the other way. Such small rebellions and late nights with piles of tennis shoes in my kitchen make me happy every single time.
August flies by. This morning the grass was too chilly for bare feet. It won’t be long now. But we still have a couple of weeks left. We’ll get the quilt out at least once more. We’ll sit outside looking for shooting stars. And there are lots of big silly movies so maybe we’ll grab one more of those too. The berries are all turning bright blue and red. The garden has green beans and tomatoes galore. And beets. Maybe a beat salad with pistachios and goat cheese under strips of balsamic steak and red onions for supper. There might be enough ripe berries for a crostada too.
We live here on purpose. And the purpose of August is to soak up all that’s left.