The comic strip, Stone Soup, runs strips every summer with the phrase, “Gotta love August”. In those panels, the comic’s characters spend time outside floating in lake water, running barefoot, reading under the summer sun, and generally enjoying summer in ways I remember from my childhood. The “Gotta love August” strips seem to have finished their appearance for this summer as the comic strip characters now turn their attention to school’s resumption.
I love Stone Soup because its creator, Jan Eliot, often nails feelings I’ve had about family, friends, parenthood, seasons. The characters deal with growth and pain as often as they deal with joy and love. It’s one of the few comics I read daily.
That phrase, “Gotta love August,” has gotten stuck in my head this year. It’s been a busy August for me, with travel and change and a swirl of activities. I tried to find a languid summer at one point, but that was not to be. The garden exploded with produce, my daughter moved into her new student apartment, and my husband and I traveled to Vancouver. I learned to can food. I’ve had new poetry accepted for publication. I’m looking at new ventures as a writer and as an editor.
I’ve even gotten into a regular exercise routine.
Yes, gotta love August.
In spite of all that, there’s that hard-to-grasp poignancy in the air at the end of summer. There’s that Minnesota shift from humid mornings when slow is the top speed to crisp mornings that hint of the coming seasonal shift. This end-of-summer feeling has a less-clear end point than it used to. There’s no looming shopping trip for school supplies and new shoes, no back-to-school orientation night. My daughter’s return to campus occurred on August 15, so it was a little early to make the shift completely out of summer. She didn’t need me to take her shopping for pencils. (Apartment items, yes, however.) And, as soon as she was all moved in, my husband and I headed for our combo Canadian vacation/conference attendance, so there was no time to mourn her absence from our house.
I’m not sure what to make of August this year and am startled that it’s almost over. But I can say that I mostly loved it this year. August danced in front of my camera lens and I noticed.
Enjoy some photos from Vancouver and have a look at my Tumblr blog, One MN Writer in Pictures, for the gradual addition of other photos from this series.
Gotta love August. Not a bad thing to have stuck in my head.
|View from our room at the Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver.|
|Inukshuk from English Bay Beach, Vancouver.|
|Totem poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver.|
|Beluga whale at Vancouver Aquarium.|