story and photo by Gabrielle L. Wheeler
August always makes me happy to be alive; August in the Finger Lakes Region especially. There have been times in which I was far away. yet no matter how far I go, I can always feel the pull of the season tugging on me. August is endings and beginnings. It’s a time for enjoying the bounty of the harvest yet also for stocking up for the winter to come. I always feel highly creative at this time of the year too, probably inspired by the beauty of the season and all the hub-bub of summer in full swing.
Right now, across the region, produce stands are packed with the colors of summer and I refuse to purchase produce from a grocery store. Tonight’s dinner will be vegetable enchiladas filled with summer squash, sweet peppers, and yellow and red tomatoes. For me, you can’t beat the flavor of a vine-ripened tomato picked mere hours before purchase. Some of my friends are canning the season’s gifts, spending long hours in labor for the love of a perfect, home-made spaghetti sauce or salsa.
Along the country roads, bright sunflowers beam splendidly. Pumpkin patches are full of big leaves and orange squash blossoms, making promises of fields full of round globes for picking in a few months. Hand-painted signs advertise “fresh cut flowers ahead;” I admit, I’ve stopped a time or two.
The end of August is marked by the State Fair – which is exactly where my kids are off galivanting today. I stayed home to do some cleaning before cooler weather forces me to close things up. We have also begun noting the things that we didn’t get to this year, adding them to the list for next summer: didn’t make it to the lighthouse, nor the spray park. Oh, well. But we have gone school shopping, and though I get sad at the close of summer vacation, the kids are counting down the days. My son is in particular as it will be his first year. I love having them off for the summer, sleeping in late the mornings I go into work at 12pm, and having time to get out and do fun things.
Well, all good things must end, they say. August is a delight, but the feel of autumn is in the air and newly fallen leaves crunch under my feet already. The seasons keep spinning, and I admit, September makes me feel alive too.