It starts off gradual, the shifting of sunlight throughout the house, until one day you realize you have to drop the blinds to avoid the beautiful, but somewhat annoying beam that’s decided to shine directly in your face from a spot where it didn’t exist before.
Summer days, as we’re aware, began growing shorter after the solstice on June 21st. As June went to July, you probably barely noticed the sun coming up a bit later and going down earlier. To know that we’ve actually lost about an hour of daylight seems impossible, but there’s no ignoring that the sun is gone by eight p.m. and not up until almost seven a.m. (EST)
There are a lot of other signs summer is winding down and coming to an end. The pecans are in the process of starting to mature, crepe myrtles are straining to produce the last of their tiny clusters of frilly blossoms, and…, the cicadas are beginning to die off. The other day one was on the porch, seeming too exhausted to move. Fascinated, as I always am by the strange “face” they have on their backs – their natural deterrent against predators – I snapped a picture before he took off in a weaving, drunken state of flight.
This time of year, in what I call the twilight of summer, is always a bit melancholy for me. It’s the time cicadas seem to screech the loudest, as if trying to bring attention to the fact they are dying, the time when plants, trees and grass begin showing signs of going dormant, no longer that brilliant green of spring, and when the songbirds who’ve kept the bird feeder a veritable hive of activity, leave, taking with them not only their songs, but the sense of new life after catering all spring to their young.
This is the month I let Bella and Kiwi go. And this will now come to be the month when I learned my father will need to somehow manage going through dialysis. He’s in the twilight of his life I suppose, given his late stage Chronic Kidney Disease. He’s a quiet soul, someone who’s never cussed, although just yesterday, as we tried to celebrate my mother’s 78th birthday here at the house, he dropped a damn – twice – in relation to “those doctors.” Our lives have been turned a bit upside down by the news. Somehow we’ll figure it out, and do what’s required, what’s needed.
Perhaps this is why I write. To try and put words to thoughts, and those words lead to comprehension, awareness, and understanding. But right now, there’s not much to understand except a reality that in the end, this is something we can manage, but we can’t control. As humans, we tend to want to control everything about our lives. And it’s a hard lesson to learn when we realize, we ultimately can’t do much of anything relative to the bigger picture.
My father looked the same yesterday, yet, a little bit different. And, maybe the difference was nothing other than simple acceptance. Or resolve. Either way, a somber mood prevailed, with only a few bursts of laughter, and a little less craziness. A quiet, more thoughtful gathering. A few tears. A lot of hugs. If felt good to hug my father, despite feeling the frail bones in his back, and hearing the raspy, wheezing of his breath.
And then, I let go, stepped back, smiled with confidence, letting it say what I couldn’t. It will be all right.