Fade to Gray

Late summer concert at Bertlesen Winery with old friends and new acquaintances

“They” say summer starts on June 21st, and ends on September 21st (approximately). Up here in the far northwestern corner of the USA, summer always starts on the first day AFTER the 4th of July holiday, and ends on the first day after the Labor Day weekend. This year it was clear summer ended on September 1st in the northernmost parts of Washington that have a land border with Canada.

It’s been a great summer. Recent summers have either been ruined for outdoor activities by wildfire smoke, or dangerously scorching hot. Yeah, several days this year were uncomfortably hot when our portable A/C units couldn’t quite keep us as cool as we’d like, and the absolute dearth of rain has us casting worrisome eyes on our iconic cedar trees that rely on regular replenishment of surface ground water. Nonetheless, IMHO, this was one of the best summers we’ve had in years.

Picnics, hikes in the North Cascades, private tasting events at wineries with our wine club, having people over again, trips to the ocean, happy hours in our gazebo in our backyard, outdoor concerts, get-togethers with friends, Little League Baseball games, soccer games, harvesting tomatoes fresh off our vines, and many more moments filled with sunlit moments of love, laughter and joy. But now I can hear summer singing to me:

“The autumn leaves are falling all around, time I was on my way

Thanks to you, I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay.

But now it’s time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way;

For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it’s headed my way.

Ah, sometimes I grow so tired …”

Ramble on by Led Zepplin

The hanging baskets are gone, desiccated by the strong summer sun, as is the pear tomato vine. Other blooms have come and gone, the lawn a brittle brown. The sun, sinking south towards austral summer is blocked by our house in our backyard; a strip of brightness still teases the flower bed, all else is in shade. The other day we had a fall-like “gray-to-the-ground” day when we lived inside a cloud with 99.9% humidity that made with windshield wipers wake from their slumber and wipe away the water. Soon the long, wet Gray will be our reality until next spring.

Fall. The very name reminds us of an unplanned and unexpected dialogue with gravity that results in an intimate encounter with the earth. Whereupon we spend some time in introspection about the immediate preceding events. And so it is for me as we enter this season, and as I am in the late Fall of my life. Where am I now? How did I get here? What’s next?

In the end, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude for my sweet wife, our cozy little home with its pretty little flower beds in one of the most varied and beautiful places in America, if not the world. Grateful for family and friends, new and old who share portions of their lives with us. Grateful for the gift of joy as I encounter the beauty of Creation. Grateful for new opportunities to learn how to better give and receive love. And grateful for each and every one of YOU who take the time to read these meanderings!

One thought on “Fade to Gray

  1. This summer was truly one of the best! We emerged from our Covid “cocoons” and embraced retirement. Thanks to you and Terri, we made new friends and explored the world of wine, too!


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