August is the Saddest Month

May is the most hopeful month.  It moves so slowly, inching its way into June, with summer just beyond our reach. We move through the beginning of June at a snail’s pace, until finally it is here; the end of the school year, with its sunshine-days that last until 9pm.

July ushers in the days of vacation. Heat waves, barbecues, long lazy days at the lake, and longer nights by the campfire.   Time spent laughing with friends and family, and hours spent alone lounging in a hammock, lost in a good book.

In early August, on the drive home from an evening yoga class, I realize that the sun has already set. The next day, on the way to teach my morning class, I see the sun has not quite risen.

And then all of a sudden, BAM!   It’s the middle of August.  How the heck did that happen!? I can panic now, as I realize that I have been putting things off, and there is so much to do before September.  Everyone needs new sneakers, new shoes, new clothes.  School Supplies. Last year’s backpack has a hole in it.  One of the lunch bags hanging in the hallway still has half of a nutella sandwich in it from June.  Doctor’s Appointments. Cheerleading practice. Middle school orientation.  Work out my teaching schedule for the Fall…

Breathe.  I just have to breathe.I have to be present, in this moment, in the now. I have to do it in May, have to steady myself in the moment instead of excitedly looking forward to the weeks ahead. And I have to do it in August, to stave off this feeling of dread.

I’ve learned to be in the moment during the summer.  But that’s because June and July are secretly in cahoots.  They work together, making their changes so very small, that I almost forget they are happening every single day.

August comes in with a gentle reminder. The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting cooler. My shadow is growing a little bit longer.

In October every leaf tells the story of the approaching winter.  In April, every bud sings us a song of summer. But the changes of August are soft and subtle. They are sweet, and they are sad.

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