Editor’s Note: Summer’s Labor

It feels like just last week when I wrote about the arrival of spring, recognizing its glory in the scent of sweet lilacs, the apple blossoms bursting with bees.

Those apple blossoms are now chunky apples weighing down branches, and the flowers of spring are now yellows and golds or the deep maroon of our dahlias. 

It’s also past the peak of the harvest season. A tangle of kidney beans is drying on the garage floor, and most of the vegetables and berries have been processed or stored in the root cellar. Harvest isn’t over yet, but I can see the end is near as our tastings dwindle – not wine or beer, but sweet-corn tastings. 

We plant three different varieties at staggered times each season. (I will use “we” very loosely here, as I can claim the berries and flowers, but the veggies are all Luther.) The names are sometimes curious, but this season, mostly understandable: Temptress and Essence. The final variety, Montauk, is coming up and will slam our sweet-corn season closed.

It’s a few days before Labor Day weekend as I write. We’ll still enjoy beautiful weather after this, but mentally we’re preparing to change our clothing and habits with the changing seasons.

I’m also preparing for the school buses, which return next week. A school bus picks up a neighboring family’s children across from our property. The bus stops at a place where I can see it and the children from an upstairs bathroom window as I’m getting ready for work. I soon learn to judge by the bus whether I’m early or late. 

Summer is fleet and hard to catch and not really ours anyway. Give me the grounded comfort of that school-bus schedule and a cellar and freezer full of summer’s labor, and I’ll return a sense of gratitude and content.