Full Summer


I can’t believe that in just four weeks, it’ll be the autumnal equinox. It is still high summer and today is the perfect summer day: clear, hot, 86° and comfortably dry. The air is still, with only light breezes ruffling past. The cicadas drone from the trees. The sun warms quickly, but stepping into the woods, it is cool and shady. I sit overlooking the waterfall, which is flowing more slowly these days, very little water cascades. Its voice is quiet chatter, but busy all the same, its water headed to the sea.

Sunlight dapples the shade through the hardwood canopy, touching the moss-covered stones in the dark stream-bed like a spotlight highlighting different features every hour. Its music soothes, cares melt away, flowing with the water out to the sea.


Ruby, my faithful bubblegum, of course is at my feet. I wish she wasn’t such a nervous-nellie, but one has to work with what is presented. Lately, she’s been very squirrelly, perhaps it’s the full moon? She follows closely and nervously, as if chased by demons visible only to her eyes. She’s even taken to sleeping in my son’s room as opposed to her comfy bed downstairs. Barking hysterically at every sound, it can get on one’s nerves! In a few days, she’ll settle back down.

She seems to love our walks, where portions are “lay-downs”, where she waits for me while I sit admiring the scenery, like I am now. Here by the waterfall, or the bench further on that overlooks the stream or out by the river where we have chairs on a bluff that sit up high with views up and downriver. Most days our walks have at least two “sit- or lay-downs.” If I remember to bring treats, she is even happier.

I often wonder what she thinks, or if she even does! It’s probably pretty simple and sensory. Her nose is always quivering, capturing the essences on the breeze. My behavior triggers her behavior. After a number of times, her responses are Pavlovian: at the bench, we rest. I can’t imagine what or how much she picks up as she sniffs the air, but most likely it’s staggering in volume!

IMG_5642 Oh, I just LOVE summer! My cup runneth over! Everywhere I look there is something beautiful to see or fascinating to watch, like insects or birds. Leaves are still very green, although showing signs of age with leaf spots or holes chewed in them. Some yellowing is happening at the fringe of the forest trees. Ripeness, that is what it is. Everything is in full peak, and moving daily towards seed, fruit and dormancy. I must embrace the full cycle of spring, summer, fall and winter, even though the cold weather is my least favorite.

It has occurred to me that in our culture most are decline-adverse. We worship the first half of life, but want to deny the second half, which completes the circle. We adore birth and youth, but run from aging and death. It is all part of the whole and is perfect. Embracing the second half comes to us eventually. One fortunate enough to live to old age finds his/herself asked to accept the full terms of the life agreement. So what if we decided not to fight it, but celebrate it? Create a “harvest festival” for your golden years. It can be quite splendid if you focus on the good stuff (as it is for any age of life). Counting your blessings wherever you can is the key to happiness and a life well-lived.


About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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