Of Slow Shifts and School Supplies

Leda spoke eloquently of transitions in her recent post and I will speak of them crankily, specifically in relation to these final weeks of summer. I love this golden time, with the coneflowers blooming and the cicadas singing their final song. There should be wine coolers on the deck and corn grilling and the relishing of tomatoes ripe from the vine. Kids in bare feet, a few sighs, reminiscences. Instead … Staples sale signs … towers of bright notebooks at Target … the boxes of college stuff in the neighbor boy’s car. Deserted pools. Halloween candy!

Why rush too soon into Keats’s “season of mist and mellow fruitfulness”? Or, for that matter, into masks and candy corn?

Why leap when we might experience (and appreciate) the slow shift from one season to the next? When we might dwell for a while in an ending?

So, what does all this have to do with writing? (Ah, yes, I do need to do more than wring my summer-tan hands.)

Writing deadlines keep us busy. There are to-do lists to attend to, new, shiny projects to embrace. Right now, I am finishing up a creative project that I loved and labored over and learned a lot from. And I don’t want to rush through it. Nope. I want to give the whole thing its final moments, well, of summer, if you will. I want to offer it one last tangy wine cooler, a lingering good-bye, and thanks for being in my head and on my desk for lo these many months.

And now, I’m off to order my daughter’s high school textbooks. She’s taken a page from her mom, I guess, and puts that off till the last moment.

Wishing you a golden close to the summer.


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10 responses to “Of Slow Shifts and School Supplies

  1. martineleavitt

    Timely and beautiful, Mary. Thank you!

  2. Enjoy the season’s final tomatoes, Martine, and the last bit of summer sun not to mention your current writing project in whatever stage it may be in!

  3. skvanzandt

    I love this, Mary. So well said. We are always looking back as we look forward.

  4. Thanks much, Sharon! You’re so right about the Janus-oriented act of writing (and life, too!). Some of my favorite books feature that kind of layering (which is very difficult to craft). Alice McDermott is a master. Hope you’re finding layers and challenges and joy with your own writing.

  5. We’re in London right now and the hot spell they’ve apparently had a fair bit of the summer has vanished under piled high clouds and days far too reminiscent of September — with winds more like October. I’d sure go for some more August, right now!

  6. Ooooh, it’s way too soon for chill winds! Hope warm breezes soon blow your way, Sir Tim, and you have a jolly, summery time in London.

  7. Now that we’re in New Mexico (in Nambe, a small village north of Santa Fe), so much slowness. Slow mountain roads when we head farther north, slow made food, slow conversations with a neighbor farmer who invites us to see his rows of chile plants and corn. Everything is slowing down, happily.

  8. Ah, your new home sounds rich with opportunities to experience a new place and way of being, Mark. That slowing down to take it all in, senses open. The feel of sun on the skin and light like a gift. I often experience that when I visit my parents in the country in Virginia, that shift into a place and time that allows for the unfolding (and concurrent appreciation) of the quiet moment … the vivid beauty of small things … strange juxtapositions … little jokes of the universe.

  9. louisehawes

    Thanks for this, Mary! I, for one, will be dragged out of summer, kicking and screaming. It ain’t over till the pool closes and the last cricket loses its voice 🙂

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