Ah, August. *Out of all the year's months, August may be the most lonesome. There are no major holidays, with Fourth of July but a distant memory and Labor Day no more than a half-seen shadow. (The V-J Days of my childhood seem to have gone with the wind.) *Nothing seems to make August stand […]

Ah, August.

*Out of all the year's months, August may be the most lonesome. There are no major holidays, with Fourth of July but a distant memory and Labor Day no more than a half-seen shadow. (The V-J Days of my childhood seem to have gone with the wind.)

*Nothing seems to make August stand out… it's almost just a continuation of July, and it may well slide into September's early days. (In Rhode Island, August was sometimes enlivened with hurricanes, but… 1972 withstanding… it's not the same in the Finger Lakes.)

*But the breeze last Friday carried September with it. Go into the woods in August's first week, and here and there you'll spot the hint of color, the dried-out leaves, and the dropping acorns that mark the first of the fall.

*The fledglings have left their nests, and in some cases their parents. Tired monarch butterflies struggle to the southward. The roadsides sparkle with coltsfoot, chicory, Queen Anne's lace. Aster peeks out underfoot. But for all that color, the flowers and the fields are starting to go to seed. Farmers make hay, dotting the hills with rolls and bales.

*Thunderheads rise and accumulate, sponsoring booms and flashes and downpours that liven our afternoons and wake us up at night. On clear nights we crane our necks to see the Summer Triangle directly overhead. Scorpio sits near the horizon, and if the clouds cooperate we may enjoy the streaks and flashes of the Pleiades.

*An occasional morning is downright chilly, and startled folks schedule another day of swimming, of boating, of picnicking… another trip to the ice cream stand, maybe a ride to Elmira, Toronto, or Rochester for a baseball game. Even summer doesn't last forever. When I was a kid I loved school. I even DEPENDED on school, as a shelter from the insanity of my home. But I also loved the glorious kid freedom of summer, and felt a melancholy as September drew near. I felt it every August from 1958 to 1994, after which I finally unlinked my life from the beloved round of the school year.

*In Steuben County August brings 'fair week,' and other counties enjoy the same. Businesses get the last flood of seasonal traffic. Mothers make back-to-school lists. Drug stores and supermarkets start putting up autumn displays, and REALLY forward-looking kids now and then dream of Christmas.

*In a typical life you'll probably get around 80 Augusts. None of them, once gone, will ever come again. Enjoy this one.