Here we are in mid-August, not even done with Summer yet, and I find my mind wandering through the red, yellow and orange fallen leaves, through the rich scent of decay and heady aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, through the crisp cool blue and gold days of Autumn. My head flips through the Mabon recipe index and the decoration checklist in my head nightly. I long to hear the chirp of crickets and rustling of leaf piles in the night instead of the constant hums of air conditioners and ceiling fans. These man-made intrusions close in around me and set my nerves on edge. I am very ready to bid Summer a fond farewell.
It has been a long, winding and rough road through the Summer so far. I found myself many times in the past two months at a crossroads, holding my hands out to the Universe and asking, "What now? What next?" The Universe always answered with a new challenge. There were times when I thought I could take no more, that I should just climb into my bed, pull the covers up over my head, and refuse to come out until everything went back to the way it was. But, of course, I could not do that. I kept moving to the next hurdle, and the next, and the next.
But the Universe has also given me some beautiful gifts through it all.
Summer began with the news that I had been accepted into the Penn State Extension's Master Gardeners Program in my county. I completed the application in mid-Spring after a long talk with myself and a little research. It only seemed like the right path to take! After a scheduled interview and an unexpected test (Yikes!), I received an acceptance e-mail. This good news has helped carry me through some of the darker days of this Summer.
During "The Vacation That Really Wasn't a Vacation" (don't ask!), my hubby and I took a midnight walk to the beach, to decompress and to be alone for just a few minutes, away from the other family members (15 in all) sharing the house. Once there, we just stood huddled together, gazing upwards, mouths agape at the celestial wonders overhead. Time stood still and our breath caught in our chests at the pure beauty. Countless stars blinked in the vast night sky and some seemed to be suspended in a trail of stardust. We made wishes on several shooting stars and I thanked the Goddess, thanked the Universe, for the one true wonderful and peaceful moment of that week.
Most recently, on a particularly crazy and hectic day, there was the discovery of hummingbirds in my garden. For the past three years, I tried each Summer to bring these little beauties to drink from feeders, honeysuckle, and bee balm. I called out silently to them at Beltane and Litha, sending them welcoming energy. But nothing. Until two showed up out of nowhere about two weeks ago. We watched in awe each time one came to the feeder or chased away other birds. My hubby scrambled to grab cameras to document their arrival. One evening after dinner, as I sat on the patio, one of the hummingbirds came within 3 feet of my face to check me out. He or she later did the same thing to my sister-in-law, but this time an even closer encounter, as she stood outside watching it. We haven't seen them in about five days but I am now hopeful that they know they are welcome here and will return again in the days and Summers to come.
And then there are the everyday gifts from the Universe, those that warm my heart and soul, uplift my spirit, and keep me walking my Path. The smile and laughter of my almost five-month old niece, the needed joy in my family's life right now. The growing maturity of my son which has transformed our mother-son relationship and made life just a little bit easier. The constant love of my hubby and the way he plays with my hair at night when I have trouble falling asleep. The supportive shoulders and ever-willing to listen ears of family and friends. And, as always, my garden, the place that brings me such peace, if it's only for a few minutes each day.
Dare I say that even the saddening and frustrating things that are happening hold gifts from the Universe? I think I dare say. Why? Simply because, in each separate issue, hurdle or event that presents itself, there is a lesson, a bit of wisdom to be gained, a path to transformation, a moment to create magic for myself or another.
Coming to this realization, perhaps I should savor the last bits of Summer while remaining vigilant for Autumn's approach, dance with the turning of the wheel instead of trying to leap forward a few weeks. Plant a late Summer batch of vegetables, herbs and flowers to harvest throughout the Autumn. Take another trip to the beach, even if for one day, to get one more day of sunbathing, wave watching, and floating in the cleansing salty sea. Have a little backyard party to swap Autumn recipes and ideas before the weather turns cold and bitter. Be present in each conversation with my Dad rather than having my mind race through all the what-if's of his remaining days.
After all, isn't that what August is all about? Beginning on August 1st, Lughnasadh, the first harvest, we begin reaping what we sow and preparing for the harvest to come at Mabon, while remaining here in the present to ensure a bountiful final harvest at Samhain. That does not only apply to the garden or crops but to our very spirits. So maybe I should not be so quick to bid a fond farewell to Summer and all of the wisdom and magic it holds but to be in it, be of it, until Autumn arrives.