Signs of Summer

I’m at the farm for the week-end, ostensibly to clean up and get ready for company next week-end and my return home for the summer. The reality, though, is that I’ve just about crashed! Our first Finals were on Friday, and now that the let-down has begun I am very very tired.

It was a hard semester in a number of respects. Teaching Philosophy was a real stretch. Whereas Grammar, at this point, I suspect I could teach while blindfolded, I haven’t read any philosophy since Rudy Behar’s Comparative Arts course at Guilford College in 1988. I loved the subject! Getting into the kind of depth we did, by focusing only on the “Big Three” — Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle — has proven to be, for me, a mind- and soul-stretching experiencing. But staying one step ahead of my students who are exceptionally bright and eager young men and women, has been quite a challenge, to say the least.

Then there are those unpleasant occasions where the behavioral and character deficiencies of certain students had to be recognized and dealt with. There are students with a variety of personal crises, too, covering an astonishing range for such a small population. Their concerns weigh heavily on me; I want to fix everything for everyone, and of course I can’t.

So with everything beginning to lift for a few weeks, I arrived home on Friday afternoon, shortly after noon, and with all my work to get ready for the carpet cleaners, I first had to lie down for a few minutes. After the carpet cleaners left, at nearly 3:00, I had to lie down again. I think I’ve taken five or six naps over the past two days! And — nearly unheard of! — I slept eight straight hours Friday night.

Still, it’s summer! If we couldn’t see this and feel it by the thermometer, which has hit the mid-80s for the past two days, we’d know it by the evening song of the whipporwill, that perfect herald of the season. For the past two evenings I’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear his call as dusk settled. Both evenings, I stopped what I was doing and just… listened, holding my breath after the first call, until I was sure my mind hadn’t been playing tricks on me.

I ran down the road yesterday afternoon to a local farm that has a stand for its own produce. Strawberries are in — these were so sweet and so flavorful! I didn’t need sugar or whipped creme or anything, just popped them into my mouth like candy as I worked on the kitchen and cooked supper. There were perfect,tiny butter-yellow straightneck squash and emerald zucchini. The tomatoes, the girl admitted, had been bought at market, coming from Florida, but it won’t be long now before our first locals are ready. I was shocked to hear her say the first peaches for our area will be pulled this morning.

Then, last night, I was on the computer talking with a friend and a tiny flash of fluorescent light caught my attention: a lightening bug!

So it must not be my imagination, or mere wishful thinking. “Behold, the winter is come and gone, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.” Er, sorry, Solomon — the whipporwill.

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