Summer Blues

Sunflowers (CC BY-NC 2.0) Nikos Koutoulas
Sunflowers (CC BY-NC 2.0) Nikos Koutoulas

Can you believe we’re almost back to school?

When I taught in Japan, I learned that the Japanese feel sadness tinged with nostalgia for the passing of the spring cherry blossoms. Their school year ends in April, so everyone sings the teary-eyed graduation song while the soft pink petals fall.

I think Americans feel this time-is-passing sensation too — not in June, when most of us graduate, but at the tip-end of summer. When the hot August days melt into shortening twilights, and the farmer’s markets fill with harvest squash and corn, and newspapers flutter with back-to-school circulars. The summer is too short, isn’t it? Especially in the Pacific Northwest, where we joke about the sun appearing for two brilliant weeks between spring and autumn rain clouds.

That soft, cyclical familiarity makes me want to grip onto time somehow. Take a little longer with loved ones. Plan one more big barbecue.

Of course, the fall is also a time of excitement. New school year, gorgeous lingering sunsets, and plenty of project time before the holidays. Plus I love office supplies. Back-to-school sales are a definite favorite!