Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Flowers of Late Summer

It is the end of vacation, the end of summer, the end of August.  I am soaking up the colors of western Massachusetts, knowing that tomorrow I trade them back for New York City's glorious grays.

Old mountains, these Berkshires, soft, worn, folded, green, misted, rolling hills. A lazy dragonfly buzzing the pool, flashing iridescence. A sky so blue it begs for clouds. And the flowers, the lovely flowers enjoying their last sun baked glory, kisses of violet, gold, delicate pink sprinkled throughout the green.

I have always loved flowers.  I get this from my mother, who loves flowers and has taught me their many names.  We would walk the fields on vacations reveling in wildflowers exuberant abandon.  Even as my father was dying, a spectacular blossom would give her tears pause, lift up her spirits, move her with its ephemeral beauty.

There is bittersweetness here: the days shortening, the nights crisping up, even the heat bearable as we prepare to say goodbye to summer. 

And there is another goodbye shadowing our lives, looming over us as we swim and play: my mother-in-law is fading fast as the last blooms of summer.  

We have spent most of this vacation without my husband, as he was summoned back to the city to care for his mother through a hospitalization. Even back with us for a few days, he is tethered to the phone, trying to make sense of a constant stream of updates: blood oxygen levels, milkshakes consumed, waking verses sleeping states.

We rely on signs and portents to try to keep her ever more delicate health in equilibrium, but the scales are tipping and there is only so much to be done. 

Tomorrow we will jump in a lake, lap the pool a few times, and pack our bags (making sure the precious blue bear is safely tucked away.) We will eat one last meal at the much beloved, wonderfully kid friendly yet sophisticated Route 7 Grill, and return to the city to take back up the reins of our lives.

The children and I to prepare for the coming school year, my husband to prepare for what cannot be prepared for, the coming end of his mother's long life. 

Having just walked that path with my father this winter, my heart aches for him.

Tomorrow I will walk the garden, wander my mind one more time among the blossoms, carry with me these images soundtracked with the boys splashing laughter "one, two, three, cannonball!"

And hope to make it last through the coming winter, through the coming storms.


  1. You take my breath away.

    That was beautiful. It so perfectly describes the way I feel about the end of summer. I'm happy to say goodbye to the heat, happy to have the kids back in school, but also? A little melancholy.

    I hope that, when the time comes, your MIL has an easy transition surrounded by love.

  2. LOVE You Vardala...the words volumes about life and living and the cycle and everything in between. Love Lori

  3. Beautiful post. The momentary beauty of flowers reminds us that we don't need to hold something forever for it to be with us always.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  4. Beautiful thoughts delivered by great writing...powerful combination.

  5. What a great story and maybe with those beautiful photos of the flowers, you can use them to keep summer part of your life all year round.

  6. Those flowers are divine. The purple just reaches out of the screen! A beautiful comparison of the seasons and the cycle of life. Thanks for Rewinding x

  7. Visiting via Blog Gems. A beautiful post and photographs.

  8. Beautiful thoughts and beautiful flowers.

    xx jazzy

  9. Bittersweet and beautiful. My Mum loved flowers and she would have adored these xx


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