Endless Summer by Joy Ann Ribar
Autumn is here and the air is heavy with the scent of smoldering leaf piles scattered amid hay shocks, carved burnt orange pumpkins, bittersweet vine wreaths, and bushel baskets of golden mums. Short days end in smoky purple and flame skies; a chill in the air surrounded by mist proclaims summer has fled into memory’s treasure chest.
While sharp winds blow the last clinging brown leaves to the earth and the ground is occupied with frost patterns, humans scurry to enjoy one last campfire or Halloween party or corn maze, but secretly wish upon the Harvest Moon for one more beautiful summer day.
When I was still a pre-teen, I’d dash home after school in fall, jump on my bike and ride like I was being pursued by a devil, determined to catch the last daylight before darkness claimed it. Zipping along the lake road, I reached for the sun’s July warmth, only to be thwarted by sassy October. I bobbed under swinging Oriole nests, dried and holey now, their occupants long ago booked it to Florida. I paused momentarily to stare at the still water; the summer shimmer of the lake was replaced by blackness devoid of dragonflies, and silence. The child I was then longed for just one more slice of Summer’s pie.
Somehow, Mother Nature didn’t let me down. I witnessed the grass shrivel, then turn a sepia brown. The bare tree branches sustained blows from the North Wind, and I bundled up in my wool coat, donned my mittens, and shivered as days of frost turned to traces of snow. But then it happened — Second Summer (known by various nicknames in temperate countries). I pictured the summer sun being held hostage by that bully, the North Wind, then rescued by the South Wind, to dance back into the sky and smile upon us for a short recess.
My adult self is still plagued by Summer’s absence. Every Autumn, the darkness intends to pursue me to despair. Don’t get me wrong. Like many, I too love the golden glow of the heavy full moon, the scent of ripe apples and savory smoke, and the glorious last breathing colors of leaves. I love an excuse to drink hot cider or cocoa and curl up under a fleece blanket with candles burning around me. I look forward to candy corn and kidlets trick-or-treating at my door.
Isn’t it human nature, however, to long for what is missing? In all the years of my life, especially as a high school English teacher, I constantly heard stories of summers past from the earliest memories of lives caught up in Summer’s dance. Summer memories seem to nourish the sweetest smiles and rosiest cheeks. It is, after all, the season of sun and color, carefree days of picnics and festivals, where even work hours are made better by the promise of excess daylight, comforting warmth, and brilliant starlight.
If you feel lonesome for summer, you can browse the photos that capture the dazzle of the sunny season and remember. If you’re lucky enough, you can escape to a place where Summer resides and soak it in before you must return to reality. Or, you can pick up a summer season book, maybe Deep Green Envy, where Summer reigns eternally on the pages, inviting you to come away, invited by the breeze to steep in the green life, breathe in the fresh grass and blooming flowers, and maybe recall your own bike ride down the lake road or country lane to freedom. Better yet, take a book out into nature. Find a sunny spot to sit awhile and visit the words of a summer world.
Photos: Joy at summer lake, Book by Fireplace
Summer in Deep Lakes sprouts a homegrown murder on the O’Connor farm. Frankie Champagne’s hunt for clues lands her deep in sheep doo-doo, especially after rare stones surface in unexpected places. Crime-solving is no picnic for the baker/vintner as she hops from farm to field to bakery, trying to keep up with the tourist season and track a killer, too.
Joy Ann Ribar lives in central Wisconsin with her business partner-husband, John. She writes the Deep Lakes Mystery Series, starring baker/vinter and all-around spitfire, Frankie Champagne. Joy’s writing is inspired by Wisconsin’s four distinct seasons and local flavors, which she hopes to promote for all to enjoy.
Joy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Midwest Independent Booksellers, and Wisconsin Writers Association. She enjoys researching viticulture at area wineries, birding, hiking, and chatting with readers. Joy and her husband, John, someday plan to sell their house, buy an RV and travel around the U.S. spreading good cheer and hygge! Joy is a little proud to have two bestsellers with Orange Hat Publishing: Deep Dark Secrets (2019) and Deep Bitter Roots (2020), under the Ten16 Press imprint of Orange Hat.
- Website: https://joyribar.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoyRibarAuthor
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjoyribar/
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