“August slipped away into a moment in time ’cause it was never mine…”

Young girl laying on an inner tube at the beach

“August slipped away into a moment in time ’cause it was never mine…” —- this line from Taylor Swift’s song, August, always gets my attention. Hearing it takes me from the present back to many previously loved summers.

The summers that I spent swimming at home and lying on the beach.

Summers that we played cards and read books by the fireplace when it rained.

There were cookouts with out-of-town guests, copious bowls of potato salad, corn on the cob on the grill, and playing flashlight tag in the woods.

Corn on the grill

There were summer chores — we weeded and watered the garden, mowed the lawn, and canned the fruits of our labor as they became ready. There was always something to do, even when doing something meant doing nothing.

Summers were when I met the newest people. Maine captures the imagination of tourists who flock to its ever-popular lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, and mountains.

I have fond memories of sitting on a friend’s porch as we ate blueberries, talked about school, and whatever else popped into our heads. There’s nothing more meditative than gazing at the lakeside setting sun. Nothing needs to be voiced out loud because a summer evening’s silence holds all thoughts.

Summer sunset at the lake

There are people I met over those summers at the lake, and I wonder what happened to them and do they remember me. Do they recall lighting firecrackers on the fourth of July, sticking in the sand, lighted sticks of sparkle, then laughing and running away to avoid getting hit by flying sparks? Does the boy I met at the beach during my early teens and laughingly watched as he showed off his skills of running and flipping off the dock up into the air, then landing in the water, only to swim back and do it again, remember me?

My college roommate and I spent our rare free time in the summer, often visiting the coast, dancing the night away in coastal bars where the music was loud, the drinks were icy cold, and we were alive with the exciting hope of tomorrow’s adventures. There was one summer, we visited small, out-of-the-way graveyards. We felt sorrow for those buried there and wondered if they were sad to be forgotten. We picked flowers, and I had her take my picture with one of the graves. I hope the ancestors buried there enjoyed having visitors and hearing our laughter and chatter. I wonder if, unseen by us; they waved goodbye as we drove away in my tiny white car?

Old gravestone

One previous August, my mother passed away. I miss her baking powder biscuits floating to the table as light as air. I talk with her frequently, wishing her well and smiling to think she is grateful for having lived and being remembered.

Summers are a mixture of fun times and hard times.

The fun times are the ones we must choose to remember. Positive memories lift us heavenward, and when we remember, we honor memories and the people who made them possible.

Good-bye August. Hello, sweet summer memories.