The last says of August always feel like the last days of summer, even if they aren’t. The real end is my birthday, the first day of fall or autumn, but the last days of summer really are the last days of August.

These days appear and people return to activities with a renewed sense of energy, maybe fueled by long days spent in the sun, their bodies bronzed or reddened, but the energy of having rested. There are kids practicing football at the park again, teams formed over the summer months, now ready for the action of fall days spent in warm sunshine and cool breezes. At restaurants, a shift towards more red wine, a meal that feels substantial, appetites return along with the end of summer. There are a few leaves that have already fallen, and the corn, most of it, is ready for harvest soon. The wheat left weeks ago, and the poplar trees are starting their early shift towards yellow. All this will subside soon, and the Alps will once again have snow on the peaks, early snow, for while those of us in the valley appreciate the new perspective, but for those living there, only signal a long winter ahead.

Down at the market, it is bursting with the beauties of the cross over season. The tomatoes are still plentifuly and ripe as anything. The last of the peaches cross over with the mid-season plums, green gauges, and the first grapes from the vine. There are pepperoni a plenty, in shades of red green and yellow and the shift from summer salads towards the first pumpkins, which always signal the beginning of things roasted. Potatoes are good now. So is the garlic, it’s all dry, bound at the top with string. Soon, walnuts, and the first small sweet pears appear along with the early fall apples, which sustain us until past springtime, when we start the entire process again with the strawberries.

The last days of summer signal newness, rebirth, growth, movement, energy, fruition, and it’s a quick slide now to the winter holidays. Without the summer rest, the energy of the sun and the heat, the naps and the late dinners, without those things, life feels small, tired, shallow and stagnant. While we work away then, with our renewed sense of purpose or thought, our energy takes new forms, and once again, life continues no matter how hard, long, short, empty, lonely, or worthy. The edge of our senses, the smell of smoke, the crunch of leaves. Just when you think you’re not ready, you are, or, the slow fade into the dark months feels right somehow.