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So Long, Summer

With all fall offers, parting is such sweet sorrow

Anticipation eases the sadness of summer’s leaving.
    Officially, summer is with us until the autumnal equinox September 22. But the light is already changing, and so are the temperatures. There’s less sweat, more breeze. Lovely weather, isn’t it? we say to one another.
    Our allocation of four seasons doesn’t do justice to the complexity of changing time or to our experience. Closer to the truth is 12, for three divisions of each of the standard four. For summer, I’ve borrowed moon names: from rising summer 2012 we’ve traveled to full summer and now to waning summer.
    (If you have better names, I’m eager to hear them. Write!)
    Just as definitive as the ­weather is the school calendar.
    Anne Arundel and Calvert kids go back to school next week — and many sixth and ninth graders dip their toes in this week. For them, summer 2012 is mostly a memory, and I hope a sweet one. In other states, unlucky kids have gone back mid-August or earlier. Their summer’s lease, as Shakespeare wrote, hath all too short a date.
    Summer’s not all gone yet, and swimming pools are still inviting us in to enjoy the delightful contrast of water and air. But far along as we are, I’m counting the days I have left.
    A summer lover, I’d be pretty sad were it not for all there is to look forward to.
    So anticipation is the theme of the week’s paper, August’s fourth. It’s an unusual approach for us.
    Our usual range is eight days, as in the 8 Days a Week of our calendar. That’s long-range compared to our daily brethren, for whom new is yesterday, today and tomorrow. Their motto is live for the moment; ours is live in the week. There’s a heady immediacy to both those speeds, demanding you jump right in.
    But living in that frame costs you the pleasure of looking ahead.
    This week, we’re anticipating September with a pair of stories on Maryland Therapeutic Riding’s two-weeks-hence Live at the Barn fundraising concert. Writing and editing them, I’m thrilled by what’s in store.
    It puts me in mind of the anticipatory pleasures of a new school year, shopping for school supplies and new clothes. I bet you’ve got those memories, too. A couple stand out for me: going to the big downtown department store — in St. Louis it was Famous-Barr — with my grandmother to buy paper and pencils and boxes and bags and sometimes a new fountain pen.
    For school clothes, my recurrent memory is shopping for college on my own, in the nearer shopping district of Clayton (where there was also a Famous-Barr) and the three wool skirts I bought in the same style but different fabrics. (It had to be skirts or dresses. Women couldn’t yet wear pants at St. Louis University, even when the wind blew us into winter.) On that shopping trip, the light was just like it is now, a thinning yellow.
    A far different memory is the ordeal of shopping with my poor mother (I was a surly teen that day) for St. Joseph Academy’s itchy, dull-green, high school uniforms, blouses with Peter Pan collars and dreadful heavy brogues. I got excused to a softer shoe because of blisters, but four years later my uniforms were still going strong enough to be requisitioned by a friend a year behind me and nine inches taller. Hemlines rose over my high school years.
    School itself was another ticklish anticipation, especially in college when the horizons of learning opened and my future might be waiting for me at any turning. Indeed, it was.
    My early education was tedious. Today’s kids have lots more fun in school, and their brains get bigger quicker. Grandparents’ day visits to my grandkids’ schools make me envious. Ada is already two weeks into second grade in St. Louis, and Elsa starts fifth grade at Arnold Elementary Monday. Jack takes the big step, and I imagine his anticipation is tinged with terror, into sixth grade at Severn River Middle School on Friday. They’ve got big things in store in school, not to mention fall soccer.
    All this recalled anticipation is making me eager. Summer’s farewell gets easier when I fill in my September calendar. Along with Live on the Farm Sept. 7, already marked in are Jefferson Patterson Park’s Affair at Point Farm on Sept. 8, Muddy Creek Artists Guild’s fall show preview at Greenstreet Gardens Sept. 13 (the show runs thru Sept. 16), Annmarie Garden’s Art Fest Sept. 15, Bay Gardener Frank Gouin and Clara’s 50th anniversary party Sept. 16 and the Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race at Cambridge on Sept. 22.
    That’s just for starters.
    Get out your calendar. Bay Weekly promises to help you color in those blank squares with anticipation.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com