Here up at the lake we’re surrounded by orchards, vineyards and farmland; gently rolling hills and meandering streams with an abundance of fish. It’s a beautiful place any time of the year, but the end of summer, the month of August, is special in so many ways.
Sunrise is a little later this time of year, we can hear the morning songs of birds at around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. rather than 3:30 or 4:00 as in June. There’s something peaceful and magical about waking early in August to see the sun rise, it’s rose-gold rays streaking the water with brilliant light.
Warm days are the norm; some days the humidity rises, but on others bright blue skies, lazy white clouds, and a lake sluggishly rolling its waves onto the shore are a welcome change to the previously fetid air. Sailboats dot the horizon, pontoons chug lazily about and motorboats slice through the undulating sea. Families play on the beach and picnic under a pavilion where laughing children used to ride a carousel.
A cornucopia of fresh produce offers up its bounty at a multitude of farm stands and markets. Lovely squashes, tomatoes, blueberries, cherries, corn, beans, and herbs create a riot of color far more beautiful than any still life painting. And the fecund ripening of the fruit on trees in the orchards, especially the apples, the first of which will soon be ready for harvest, remind us that fall is on its way. The green, green grass of past months starts to brown, the flowers lose some of their bloom, and the limbs on deciduous trees, with their dark, heavy leaves, droop with anticipation as they begin to fade. In a month or so, their bright, warm hues will beckon an onslaught of sightseers.
The days are getting shorter, but still, because we are so far north, it stays light until after 9 p.m. and the cicadas, dormant since last year, add a soft, musical background to the fireflies that sparkle and dance their way across our yard . On clear nights, when humidity is low, the sky is awash in stars so dense to appear as a carpet covering an inky background. Unlike earlier, warmer summer evenings, we can now, more frequently, sleep with the windows open.
Something about the light and the air bring visions of fall: bright, sunny days as crisp as biting into a just-picked apple. It smells different, too. The air is perfumed, but in August, with a rich, heavy ripeness and the beginnings of the decay that precedes fall and winter.
Later in the month, when the tourists and those who spend their summers at simple cottages here have gone, there’s a quiet interrupted only by the occasional droning of a lawn mower, the buzz of insects, the bark of a dog or a the quiet chatter of friends and neighbors passing by.