A Heated Argument

When I was walking home, I felt the microcosm of summer, a bauble gleaming like a bronzed sunset, land on my shoulder.  This gleaming toy began to whisper to me, telling me its secrets, its axis of seasons, its golden solstice.

I listened to its confidences.  It took pride in its air, where molecules were jostled and pushed into a thick equation of stillness and warmth.  It explained that throughout its turgid currents there ran a glistening drift of coolness, a cold metallic blessing woven into its heated tapestry.   It was a promise that autumn would always lurk in its sky like mercury reflecting behind a mirror…and that perhaps I should be patient.

The Windblown Time

The summer flowers have lost their innocence, their fresh chlorophyll drying to a standstill within green, clogged veins.  Their scent is a final gasp, rather than a graceful birth…their colors are garish, beyond their prime and on the brink of death.  Yet the affable season continued the discussion, making sure I was aware that the flowers’ slow liqueur only reached their pinnacle during the summer months.

The Overwhelming Air

I was aware of this.

During this heated time birds either migrate to cooler climates or rest in the trees in a stunned silence.  There was a time when the leaves would jump with mystery as their unknown occupants clutched at branches and fluttered with vexation.  Quorums of sparrows disputed, mockingbirds hissed and battled…but not during summer.  The shorebirds I loved – whimbrels and godwits carving the sand with sabre-like beaks,

Swords in Sync

sanderlings darting across the beach in packs of tiny earth-bound clouds…gone for the summer.  The heated breath in my ear explained that perhaps other regions should enjoy these birds’ song and flight illustrating the blank air.  Perhaps they should get the chance to read the tiny footprints in the sand; the dainty, flickering hieroglyphs.  Perhaps.

A summer sky during the day is bland and soft:  an expressionless face, without texture or wrinkle.  It is a vacuous hothouse, heated by a single star that tears a white corner out of the sky.  The summer night, however, burns with stars.

The Scalded Sky

Constellations – Scorpio, Hercules – and triangles made from Vega, Deneb and Altair – bloom out of the horizon like jeweled gardens.  There now, I heard the triumphant reasoning in my ear – isn’t that pretty?  But I prefer the harvest moon, the wolf moon,

The Moon Sails in Arcs

The Moon Sails in Arcs

its scythe and jaws fierce and penetrating through the cold twilight and swirling Delft-colored clouds.

By now, summer’s heated argument was weighing heavily on my shoulder.  Its points of debate were gallant, but I was having none of it.  I twitched my shoulder, and the golden bauble stumbled onto the sidewalk, shattering into a thousand prisms – its final bewitching challenges.  But I stepped over this wasteland of regret and continued walking and waiting.


7 responses to “A Heated Argument

  1. Magical. And every bit accurate. We don’t have the shorebirds, but oh, that summer sky!

  2. I especially loved your descriptions of the birds. It’s so, so true. They have become silent here, so silent that I didn’t notice until a few nights ago the single dove that comes to drink at sunset. Last night, I put some ice cubes into the bowl. She came, and looked, and waited. Then, once the cubes were gone, she stepped into the bowl and watched the setting sun.

  3. Summer’s story is quite interesting, but if it landed on my shoulder to talk, I would have disputed that “glistening drift of coolness” and the suggestion that I be patient.

    I’m doing more than wilting these days. The awful heat has seriously impeded my ability to think. If we tended to have autumn in Chicago, I would wish for it. But winter is rarely my friend either, so I try to forget about the weather. That’s difficult when summer comes through every window and accosts me anyway.

  4. I have to say that your posts are some of the few that I have to reread a few times to draw out all that I can sense in the first read through. I read once and think I get what you are saying, read a second time and feel more, read a third time and get something completely different. I love words that make me think and ponder. With that said, I refuse to think and ponder about autumn. The rains just went away and I’m going to cling just a bit longer to the few days of sunshine.

  5. Summer would not waste time on my shoulder. Here it is too busy, my latitude and altitude challenging it to finish its work in scant months. Birds have little time to rest, nesting and training their young in quick time before the impulse overtakes them to take to the high skies once again. I remind myself to embrace each moment of sultry or thundering summer since autumn will surely overtake it tomorrow with long, persistent winter close on its heels.

    I love the illustrations you have chosen to accompany your equally evocative writing, Aubrey. Did you take the picture of of the shorebirds yourself?

  6. Lauri – You might not have shorebirds, but you do have families of storks romping around your house!

    shoreacres – What a marvelous vision. How I wish I could have seen it in person. It has all the makings of a tiny, perfect poem.

    Sparks – Oh dear, I knew this would be a hot (ha! Aubrey stop!) topic, what with all the fierce and scalding weather attacking the rest of the country. Most understandably, many people would mock summer’s advice and argue quite reasonably that Enough Is Enough.

    Lisa – Thanks! Honestly, when I started writing this, I had no idea it would develop this way, and couldn’t imagine this is how it would end. As for Autumn, I’ve been pondering its arrival since spring!

    Cindy – It is interesting how birds adapt according to their locations – how they are certainly a product of their environment and seasons. Yes I did take that picture of those two fellows – I believe they are called Marbled Godwits. I think they winter down here, and we miss them very much.

  7. Oh, I’m with you all the way. I spend the summer months looking forward to the harvest moon. Luckily I live in an area that (usually) experiences four true seasons, so it is nice to have those distinctive times of year, but summer is often a tough one to negotiate. Lovely descriptive passages, as ever, I love ‘seeing’ these things the way you describe them…makes them new in ways.

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