As it slides off into another season, I can hear Summer signing off.
Sure, the temps are still hovering in the 90s, accompanied by their bestie, high humidity. But the sounds of Summer tell me I have little free time left to squander.
The buzz of the cicadas, which really is more like the whirring of an insect-driven chainsaw high up in my Bradford Pear, has been overtaken by the incessant chirp of crickets. Summer thunderstorms arrive more frequently, but hang around for the briefest of intervals. Even the annoying bray of the beagles one house over has dimmed to an occasional whimper. I can tell those miserable mutts are looking forward to a change of season, too.
If I were assigned to write an essay on my accomplishments over the past weeks, I'd have lots to tell, but little to show.
I attended two school-related workshops - one to sharpen my AP Lang teaching skills, and one to help me remember why I continue to ride herd over my journalistas each year. I racked up 2,805 miles on Big Blue, traveling out West to see my chicas in Wisconsin (a solo shot that taught me that I relish both wide open spaces and my own company), down to the Outer Banks, out to Raleigh to support Ella Numera Una when she sat for the North Carolina Bar Exam, back to the OBX, and back home again.
I hired a contractor to spiff up my battered screened porch, where I've spent almost 20 years potting plants, reading trash and hosting family potlucks. I wake each morning before seven to what sounds like a Lilliputian mob clashing with King Kong as the table saw whirs and then the contractor slam-bangs new elements into place.
I read six books, and am relishing my seventh. I haunted Reader's Corner - a used book store in Raleigh - and scored a sweet paperback edition of Gone with the Wind, with a forward by Pat Conroy. I'm hoping this epic, which I've already read at least a dozen times, will be my Summer's swan song.
I Facebooked. I Tweeted. I took lots of silly photos with my phone. I tried to tend to my blog, but realized I'll have to keep that resolution for another day.
This was going to be the Summer of the Clean Basement. And the gym. And the rigorous laps at Ye Olde Swimming Hole. I reckon you can guess how that part of my summer turned out.
So, with exactly three weeks to go before I must report to duty in Room 215, I'm emptying the dishwasher, going to the grocery store, putting away the laundry - mundane household chores that will escape my grasp as soon as school starts - and listening for the siren call of a new school year.