I barely recognized the boy who walked through my door. It was my eldest son returning from yet another outing with a set of his grandparents, an event that has become so commonplace over this summer break that it barely makes sense to unpack his bag. His hair was now more white than yellow and his normally pale skin was brown. It was only the tell-tale scattering of freckles across the bridge of his nose and up the side of his cheek that convinced me that it wasn’t some random changeling.
“We’re happy you are home,” I told him, which was a massive understatement. He had only been gone this last time for three days and yet, unlike his first solo trip, this one felt like forever. I had expected to miss my son, but I was taken aback by how much I had missed the noise, the mess, the smells, the sheer chaos incarnate that is boy this summer.
“I’m happy to be home too!” he said with the gap-toothed grin I remember. His big boy teeth sure are taking their time coming back in.
“You know, you won’t have any more trips except for one last one with mommy and daddy before school starts.”
“I just want to sleep in my own bed.”
He’s had a great time with every single outing, but I can’t blame him for the sentiment. I wouldn’t mind travel nearly so much if I only had a teleportation machine to ensure that I got to sleep in my bed at night. Sure, the hospitality industry might suffer, but I would get such a better night’s sleep, and sleep makes me happy, which makes me more productive, and if more people were productive, wouldn’t that help the local economy – but I digress.
His school will resume in less than one month. Summer is almost officially over as far as we are concerned. After the bags were in, I went outside to check on my garden. As I stepped off the porch, a bit of white caught my eye in the hanging planter. It was a strawberry bud.
Strawberry season in North Carolina begins in April and runs through the month of May. It is pretty much over as soon as the temperatures begin to rise, and we had hit triple digits in June. After the heat wave in June, I hadn’t even bothered to care for the planter beyond the occasional watering when the leaves wilted even after temperatures stabilized in the 90s (or 32+ for my non-US friends). The season was definitely over. But there it was. A flower, with another stem beside attached to the green triangular shape of a forming berry.
No one told my strawberry plant that its season was over. Or if someone did, the plant didn’t listen.
Another blog I read posted an amusing piece this week briefly touching on the subject of acceptance. Acceptance of others for their differences, acceptance for the liberties the film industry takes with history for the sake of drama, and also acceptance that more than likely only half of winter’s audience would take the time to read the message.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, but a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryant
I accept that there is a season for all things, but I know I can’t fall into the trap of doing nothing while waiting. The easy season may come and go, but I can (and do regularly) dance like no one’s watching (or write like no one is reading). Who knows, but if the conditions are right, the work I do today just might yet bear fruit.
Book update. I’ve gotten most of my beta reader’s comments in and am in the process of making yet another round of final tweaks and read-throughs. It is difficult to express exactly how very grateful I am for my reader’s feedback. I believe my story is significantly stronger for their suggestions and I am now even more excited to release it to the public in the not to distant future.