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Farewell to another summer

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POSTED September 1, 2014 12:57 a.m.



A farewell.

Summer is fleeing. Days are shorter. Nights are cooler.

Friends who have been around awhile remark that Valley summers are not what they used to be.  I suppose nothing is.  Still, I love the summers.

I love the stillness of long summer afternoons in the country and the visible steaming heat of the city as it rises from sidewalks.

Yes , it has been hot, and drought pervades, but not warm enough for anyone to ask, “Hot enough for you, Bud?”

Summers are embraced.  In summer I feel beauty in the golden fields, seeming the armies of alfalfa bales, waiting, waiting.

Once, we had days with picnics in the Lode, travelling an off-road and stopping at random beside a field with a few trees and a little shade.  If we were lucky, perhaps there was a small stream that had not dried out.  Spread a blanket with a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou.

The silence of our wilderness is broken only by the rustle of something small in the bush.  See light cloud tufts above, angels with wings, drifting against the sun-blue sky.  A bird or two languidly flutters from tree branch to tree branch.

A solitary horse in a pasture looks for a blade of grass.  Vistas of our flatlands rolling to gray and purple mountains.

Summer days on Delta waters when in midweek speedboat jockeys aren’t churning waters with roars that jostle the mind.  Waves slap against boats and a pleasant breeze touches the face and fills a sail.

Fathers and sons, husbands and wives fish from the shore. Lines mostly come up empty, but occasionally something small thrashes.

Summer nights with star spectaculars.  Skies are never so bright as during summer nights.  An acquaintance tosses a blanket onto his pickup bed to observe with awe the canvas of the sky and to fall asleep with stars in his eyes.

Summer in the city, a man in undershirt, heart tattoo on one arm, hose in one hand, cigar in the other, lovingly waters his 10 x 12 foot-long yard off Yosemite. Another man, wearing only shorts and boots, works on a car in Main Street.

 Families and children take their portable barbecues to picnic in Lincoln Park.  Watch intense ball games and some not so intense. Mad runners out in the midday sun passing woman with parasols.

The season of the harvest brings strangers from the fields to the streets and perhaps a few familiar faces. They come to labor and perhaps send a few dollars back to impoverished homes.  Their burned, wrinkled faces and gnarled hands are the tolls they pay each day. 

They gather on street corners each evening, speaking their language, until the setting sun drives them off.

Most will leave for other cities and other fields, but a few will stay.  The city grows.

I welcome fall.

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