Here, at Summer’s End

monarch caterpillar.jpg

My fields were filled with milkweed in August, and gorgeous Monarch caterpillars, too.

Where the summer went I don’t quite know. Although it’s not official for a few more days yet, I can tell that it’s over. All around me the world is ready and moving into fall. Shadows and light are growing long; leaves are turning shades of orange, red, gold and brown, and dropping to the ground. The trees are being very quiet about it all, too, as I don’t often catch sight of their leaves falling. But more and more appear every day.

And I am happy about it. I feel in many ways, though I was often so busy, I was somehow fast asleep, moving through the days quietly, or unaware.

Time just disappeared. The past few months were filled with projects around my old farmhouse (all just pieces of one big, endless project) and my rental houses, lots of lawn mowing, work in the garden, work at my job, volunteering, and tending to my animals, a few of whom have been ill and are suddenly (and more obviously) aging.

It all went by so fast in the haze of to-do’s. I did try to do a few other things I enjoy, like yoga, kayaking, and camping out. And after learning of their low survival state in the wild, I collected over fifty Monarch caterpillars to hatch into butterflies (which has become quite a project, too). But I never seemed to have enough room for all of them.

And I never found (or made) much time to write, take pictures, or paint. With the classes I usually attend on hiatus for the summer, I lacked regular motivation to keep me going.

But also it was just not in me, I think. Sometimes I didn’t feel like talking much about anything, or showing it, either. Even the fascinating process of watching the Monarchs grow and change I kept mostly to myself. All that creative energy, my life-force, was going into the outside– to my house, the animals, the garden, to creating the vision I have of my life here, and to engaging with the natural world I love so much. I’m not sure I had much left for anything else.

Now, though, I feel that energy turning inward again, growing, getting ready for the long sleep of winter in the outside world to come. And despite the fact that my thoughts often turn these days to preserving the garden, ordering firewood, and making plans to deal with first leaves and then eventually snow, here I am this morning sitting down to write once again.

Instead of getting weary, I believe I’m waking up. Coming out of that strange sort of summer sleepwalk, emerging like a hibernating bear of southern latitudes.

Poems are stirring around inside, coming together in bits and pieces. Words are beginning to drop out of me and onto the page, just like the leaves starting to fall off the trees. My eyes are seeing photographs again; my hands itching to paint. And like the Monarch caterpillars I collected to hatch still waiting inside their chrysalises, I feel myself, too, just on the verge of awakening.

Goodbye, summer. Let the transformation begin.