Last night between 8 and 9 p.m. Shawn took the dogs out. When he came in, he said, "You have to come out with me, and see the fireflies."
Each of us holding a leash, we wandered back out, along the periphery of our yard, and watched the silent, arching gleams of yellow-gold brilliance that appeared randomly against the black-green thicket of brush, the swale where the water runs down into our lake, the grove of trees on the north side of our home. Often the illuminations darted off the edges of the corners of our eyes, only to disappear by the time we would turn to see them full-on. Once in awhile we'd catch a criss-crossing profusion of glowing bugs right before our faces, a rare treat, pops of light that slowly fade as the tiny creatures continue their aimless journeys through the evening.
The flashes made Schubert nervous.
Piper didn't notice anything.
Shawn got a mosquito bite.
We went inside.
We fixed some tea. Decaffeinated.
Although it is still on the early side of summer, I think we are in the autumn of our marriage. The children are gone. The evenings are quiet. The meals are small. The house is tidier than it ever used to be. Golden leaves, and russet, quietly rustling under the sun.
It is always sad to say good-bye to summer, all the promise and hope of spring fulfilled and finished.
Summer is a hard season, a season of beauty and life, growth, production, bounty and perhaps a vacation at the seashore. Blooming flowers, and nights too hot to sleep. Limbs that ache from working outside, and picnics with beloved friends. Summer is when we mow, water, weed, pick, pickle and can. In life, summer is when we expend ourselves nurturing our children and our careers.
Autumn is when we hope to see our hard work packed away against the threat of winter, sparkling jars of many-colored preserves lined up on the shelves of the root cellar. In life, autumn is when we watch our children launching, our role at work shifting to management and mentorship, our investments ripening for when they need to be opened and used.
It can be a time of beauty and satisfaction, or a time of fear and dashed hopes. I suppose it is usually a mixture of the two.
May God sustain us and help us, today and always. May we experience a blessed autumn, and a long one.