Is August Sad?
This question was posed on Facebook by my friend Lisa Verge Higgins, a wonderful author, who I assume was experiencing a moment of end-of-summer melancholy as she took to the keys. (If you still have some beach time left, race out and buy one of her books. Your afternoon will be less sad, I promise.)
So I have not been able to stop thinking about her contemplative query. Is August sad? I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years and August meant nothing. It is summertime every day in L.A., which means it never feels like summer, and that is really sad!
August back east may be the month before Fall begins, but Fall to me is a time of cooler days and nights, brilliant colors, crunchy leaves and renewal. Labor Day is my favorite day of the year. Nothing happens in August, but it might in September.
This month we celebrated our 10th year at the Delaware Shore with dear friends. Two of our kids were born 16 years ago, within hours of each other. Now all four children are in college or on their way. It was a wonderful week. August can be nostalgic.
Last week I visited my mom at the tiny apartment in Westhampton Beach that has been in our family since the '60s. With my dad gone, it is lonely out there for her. The apartment is up for sale. As the sun sank low I knew it might be the last time I enjoy my three-jetty walk. I carried a couple of sea shells home in my pocket. August can be a little mournful, too.
My wife lives in Chicago where summer is a whole different animal. Her kids live for Lalapalooza, not clam bakes. I have to explain why we sit on the NJ Turnpike or L.I.E. in bumper to bumper traffic just to get wet and sandy. Lake Michigan is drop dead beautiful but no one is crawling along Linden Avenue at 2 mph to get to the beach.
Mobile technology has changed summertime. We carry our work wherever we go, but last week at Bethany I saw hardly anyone glued to their cell phone. The waves were perfect. Kites flew. Kids played paddleball down by the surf. On the night of the big S'more party, the place where we stay hired a deejay. He played Frankie Valli and Bruce Springsteen. People danced and drank icy cold cans of Bud. The sun set a little earlier I noticed. The days were definitely growing shorter, but no one looked sad at all.