August, Year’s End

August, Year’s End

This post is contributed by Barnaby Porter from his archives. Read the previous post here.

On rising this sunny morn, there are tomatoes overflowing a wicker basket on the kitchen counter alongside a heaping bowl of peaches, ripe with fruit flies. Insects scissor in the tall grass outside the open windows. The toilet tank sweats in the sticky air, and the dogs barely stir from their morning stupor. It’s August, full-blown, fermenting sweetly like a fat berry on a bush.

The end of a passionate season is at hand, everything squandered, spent. As my neighbor, Bob, and I discuss this sentiment, we rearrange the calendar to mark this all-apparent juncture as the true Year’s End, which would make September the beginning of a New Year. Our thinking seems sound. There is a finality to these last days of August. All the past months of easy living, of swimming by the moon, of thinking only of the moment – all of that is gone and as irretrievable as the oak’s green acorns, now just hard brown lumps scattered on the mossy lawn.

For all the ceremony that attends such a nondescript day as January 1st, it is in reality a rather meaningless day, in human terms as well as in natural terms. Compare it with the celebration of life that is August, with the sadness of August’s waning days verging into September, the month of new beginnings – back to school, back to work, back to getting life’s affairs in order. There is no comparison – only the sense that a silly mistake has been made.

If I am to sum up all I have strived for over a twelve-month period of my life, no other month seems better suited to enjoying the rewards of hard effort, to the appreciation of kind weather, to taking a fling at regaining something of our youth than does August. August’s passing is cause for my sincerest goodbyes… to life’s passionate pulse, to summer friends, to feelings of carefreeness – bittersweet goodbyes that recognize the undeniable passage of another year.

I look to tomorrow, September 1st, as the banner day of a new beginning. The barns are full. And as everyone strolls around the county fairground, full to overflowing with August’s blessings, they can cast an eye back along the hay-strewn road that winds around the bend and out of sight.

Look back, yes, and feel the warmth of August’s glow. And say farewell. And turn around to face ahead, another year to go.

silhouette of a person standing on a rock in the river at sunset

Barnaby PorterArtist and author Barnaby Porter has had a varied career in marine research, aquaculture, and woodworking, among others. Most recently he partnered with his wife Susan as co-owners of the Maine Coast Book Shop & Cafe in downtown Damariscotta. In October 2021, Barnaby completed his tenure on Coastal Rivers’ Board of Trustees after six years of service.

Photos courtesy of Barnaby Porter.