On August

August 20, 2023 - 3 min read

August is romanticized in a way July is too busy to be honoured. We want to galivant and drink our way through July, it's the month of making memories. Then we find ourselves in the last stretch of summer, languishing. This August I expected myself to be in the heart of marathon training. Racking up miles, preparing my mind, fueling for November 5th. Instead I find myself stretched out much like hot August days, waiting. Not waiting for Autumn, not waiting for summer to be taken away, but waiting to heal.

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I've hobbled three minutes down the street to the public pool for two hours of lane swimming every day this week. It's meditative under water, I can't distract myself from my tired limbs with music or a podcast. I want my sun to bake my sweat to my skin as I hit 6 flat at mile 18 but instead I settle for a heart rate that never goes above 110bpm.

I wouldn't call myself a patient person. I'm focused, I have a lengthy attention span, but I am always eager--wanting to be moving forward, engrossed in something moving me towards a higher goal. Resting, despite knowing it's value and necessity, is not early the same. But I have to settle with growing in this way. Patience is never not worthwhile.

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”

― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

There's a certain sweetness to things when you know they're ending. We tend to undervalue what we are in the midst of. I am saying nothing new, we all know we should live more in the present. I've decided I don't want to collect memories, I think that gets in the way of living. While everyone is busy savouring the ebbing of summer, can I make August my new beginning?

I hope you savour the sweet fruit, warm air, and cool drinks. I hope you keep moving forward or if you'd rather, stay still. I hope you spend August as you want, not as you think you should.