The Fleeting Quality of Summer


As Summer nears its end in New England,  I always think of the wonderful Michel Legrand song,”Windmills of Your Mind”, whose lyrics were written by  Alan and Marilyn Bergman: “Why did Summer go so quickly, was it something that you said?”.

We who live in the Northeast have a different relationship with this Season than those who live in warm climates.It is somehow at once a passionate love affair, and yet a hesitant relationship; we are the  tentative lovers of the sunshine and warmth it brings, always fearful of it abandoning us to the cold, harsh Winter we know is ahead. We are afraid to love it too much. We are afraid to miss one moment of its attention. We are afraid of wasting the precious days, knowing the regret we will soon feel if we do.

It’s complicated; but it wasn’t always this way. When I was a child, as I was in the photo above, Summer was a magical, carefree time that stretched out before me with no limits. When the sun rose early and stayed late, there was so much time to play. Ride your bike. Swim in your plastic pool. Go to the lake. Have a picnic in the yard. Pick Strawberries. Pick Blueberries. Jump waves in the Ocean. Play hide and seek with your cousins. Watch fireflies light up the nights.It was an unending series of opportunities for fun. School, heavy coats, boots, mittens,  and staying inside was all forgotten; Summer was going to last almost forever.

Now that I am a Senior Citizen (yikes!) it seems that time literally flies by. Everyone over a certain age is sure of that, and most mention it with regularity. Summer has a particularly fleeting quality now. Autumn usually glides by swiftly, too. Winter seems to hold on with its heels dug in; it never leaves us quickly enough. Spring drags its feet as it inches toward warmth each year.

When, at long last, we find Summer mornings again-glorious and radiant-we  welcome them with open arms,  yet still fearing to  hold on too tight. Those who live in warm climates take for granted the warmth and sunshine; they are confident that they can waste the day, because tomorrow they will get another one just like today. They are married to the warmth, and it will not leave them so easily.

We in the North must be on our toes. We are the ones so easily seduced by Summer; the ones who revel in her charms, and then are inevitably tossed aside. We must never count on her for too long. But, like a love that we may have been lucky enough to have found in the past, we should cherish each moment. Savor it. Breathe it in. Devour it. Carpe Diem.

All good things must come to an end. Don’t you hate when that happens?


Author: barbarabeardsley

Writing is essential for me. My work helps me through so much of Life, and brings me joy and creative fulfillment. I hope you will enjoy reading my stories, essays, and poems.

3 thoughts on “The Fleeting Quality of Summer”

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