The Lesson of August

dreamstime_xl_5598218I have never been a fan of August.  It is such an in-between month.  The month of the not-quite-yet.  Though school has started and vacations have ended, the weather’s still hot, and summer’s not over.   TV is nothing but reruns.  College has started, but college football has not.  The only thing going on in sports is pre-pennant-race baseball—if that’s really a thing.  Some have argued that we should abolish the month altogether.

For me, it’s a month when I find myself impatient for my favorite season of the year—autumn.  When autumn arrives the weather begins to turn cooler and the shadows begin to lengthen.  The world is blanketed in color.  Apple and pumpkin spice candles start showing up in stores, and everyone seems to have a skip in their step.  But in August, I’m still a month or more away from true autumn, and have long since lost my sense of humor about the heat, humidity and mosquitoes.

The challenge in the in-between times of our life—and the in-between times of the year (like August)—is to not lean too far forward…to try to live in the present, as opposed to that longed-for future.  Times, like the month of August, challenge us to be present to what’s here right now. Not lost in what’s yet to come.  The beach is still here, and the fishing’s still good.  The ground is parched and the garden’s history, but the roses in the backyard still bloom.  There are still fresh watermelons and peaches in the grocery.  The corn stands tall and green, waiting for harvest.  Further north apples are ripening on the trees.  In the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can begin to pick blueberries, but it’s still warm enough to enjoy that favorite swimming hole.

We lose a piece of ourselves when we begin to inhabit our fantasies about what’s around the corner. And maybe that’s August’s gift to us—a reminder to simply be here, present to all of the beautiful moments available to us now.  It’s tough.  Because the allure of cooler weather and college football is so enticing.  But being tempted by what’s just around the corner offers us the opportunity to make a choice.  We can choose to loose ourselves in what’s about to happen.  Or we can choose to simply be present to what’s happening now.

I will admit, a little tougher to do in August.  But worth doing, nonetheless.

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