Another year older another year wider.
I mean that somewhere along the way I have been cracked open and no matter what I do the gap expands. 33 and a canyon and a river runs through.
We arrive with a sigh at the end of the summer. The calendar says not quite yet, but Papa goes back to school and the sun does not quite hit the raised beds as it once did, already it begins to hide south behind our house. The days are still warm but several tired leaves can no longer hang on waiting for an autumn wind and drift into our yard.
At the end of summer Elanor laughs and sings. I blow the ashes off her head and look up to see the light on in the window, hear the bedtime antics loud and merry, just one more verse of “Down By the Bay.”
At the end of summer Jack plays elaborate pretend baseball. We finally get him a little ball and bat set, and then we play with it every day, multiple times a day.
The neighbor girl comes over to play with him, showering him with praise when he hits the ball. Then she wants to play pretend, to look at the moonlight and turn into a monster and chase each other. Jack obliges, not entirely sure what his role is but loving the chasing part.
Some things I want to remember about late summer Jack Flint:
His imagination deepens. People and circumstances are given meaning when retold as animal stories. For instance: he repeatedly threw Lamby as an excuse to get out of bed, so I took Lamby away for a few moments. Later he told a story about how a lion came and roared, and took his Lamby away.
Or, to explain why his leg hurt, a story about a dinosaur coming to bite him.
Little dinosaurs commonly make an appearance, wanting to come up and lay on the couch between our snuggled heads, wanting to sit at the table during dinner.
“They are nice,” he says reassuringly.
After reading Cowardly Clyde the dinosaurs were replaced by an ogre for a short time, part fascination and part fright.
He requested to come inside after hearing some prolonged sirens, saying “Those horizons are scaring me.”
Aside from the sirens, he wants always to be outdoors, asking first thing in the morning until the end of day. “Go outside? We go outside now?”
Summer has seen the loveliest evenings spent with dinner and rock throwing at the beach a few times a week. The boys could do it for hours. Jack notices if Jeff and I are just lounging and will come and hand us rocks, wanting everyone to be in on his fun, his compulsion. Even now the water is still fine, and one or all of us will end up taking a quick dip.
Late summer and we are just a bunch of leaves still clinging on.