August, summer’s last month of fulfillment

Goodbye, August. After tomorrow you will be gone for another year.

You always have held a special place in my heart. No doubt my birthday occurring during your month has something to do with it. But there is more to it than that. In the ebb and flow of the time we mark as we circle the sun, to me you have always represented an ending and a beginning.

When I was growing up, school didn’t start until after Labor Day in September, which meant you were the last month of summer vacation. In my mind summer was over and autumn had begun. Well, with the rearrangement of modern school calendars, the honor of a school-less month has been handed over to July.

I’m sure you and July have come to an understanding about it. I would expect as much from two months named after Roman Caesars.

I also felt when I was young that you, August, got a raw deal because you had no major holidays. But, really, what I was feeling was a selfish sense that I was somehow entitled to have a big deal holiday, or even a minor one, in “my” month like the other kids in class.

As I say, I was young, and as young people tend to do thought only of how things were affecting me.

These days I see the absence of national communal observances in August as a good thing. No clutter of wild celebrations; no pressure to purchase unneeded gifts; no homages or salutes to the past. Nothing to distract from the simple enjoyment of your sunny summer days.

Yes, you can produce some uncomfortably hot temperatures, but such weather is part of who you are and we accommodate ourselves to you. You are a reason to bask by the pool and laze at the beach. You are an excuse to sit in the shade and read a book while sipping something cool. You are the surprising coolness of a sudden late afternoon rain shower.

It’s true that in other parts of the world many countries observe holidays during August (or however they know you in their language). In China they celebrate Lover’s Day, similar to Valentine’s Day, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, which makes it fall sometime in August. Many countries celebrate their independence days sometime during the month.

As a matter of fact, on Thursday, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Kyrgyzstan have independence anniversaries.

Zambia celebrates Farmer’s Day on Aug. 3, and I think, if a new American holiday were ever established, some sort of Farmer’s Day would be a good choice. August certainly would be the month for it. August is the fullness of fields and gardens: plump red tomatoes and sweet yellow corn; overflowing baskets of green beans and endless zucchini. The variety of peppers from cool sweet to fiery hot is reflected in the temperatures of the month itself. August would be a perfect fit.

August, I will take you with me as I continue my journey through the year. I will remember your early morning daylight stretching late into the evenings during those short December days. I will recall just how warm was your sun as the icy blasts tear across the snow-covered fields. I will taste your summer goodness as Becky and I enjoy some of the frozen produce we reaped from our garden and stored away.

All months and seasons of the year have their particular beauties and special qualities, of course. And maybe it is, after all, merely a subjective feeling on my part, but as hot as you sometimes get, August, I think you are a pretty cool month.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.