Now that it is towards the end of August, the summer is growing old. This summer has been busier and more challenging than we could ever have imagined. It started off with Jacob breaking his arm in a bike accident and going through a rather complex surgery in Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville. Not too long afterwards, James had a strep throat during our trip to Michigan, which means we were “playing nursemaid” to both children while being away from home.
While Jacob was recovering from his surgery, he began an online Geometry course before prepping for two weeks for the ACT exam. The reason for this schoolwork in the summer is that David found out about Gatton Academy while in the hospital with Jacob and was determined to have Jacob apply to it. We think that Gatton Academy, the best public high school in the U.S., will help greatly with Jacob’s chances of admission into an excellent university of his choice when the time comes.
In the midst of online schoolwork, Jacob left for a week to attend the Summer STEM program at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis with a short cast on his arm. It was his first time flying by himself and being so far away from home for a week. To make it extra stressful, Jacob had a very early flight (5am) to Baltimore and a super late return flight to Louisville — David and Jacob didn’t get home until 4am. In the end, all things considered, he had a good learning experience at the Naval Academy. This experience of his was also beneficial to us as we realized that Jacob has a real hesitance to talk to other people than his immediate family members. We thus began a mission to help him overcome his extreme shyness and reserve.
After Jacob’s ACT exam, we left for a long trip to the Northeast to visit some excellent universities in Pittsburgh, Boston and Princeton. We also visited Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island, where our dear friend Brother Sixtus lives. The trip was tiring, to say the least: we ended up driving through many big cities, walking around a lot to sightsee, and using public transportation in Boston. However, we did enjoy a stimulatingly interesting time in a part of the country new to all of us and some wonderful discoveries, most notable of which are the stunning gothic architecture of Princeton University, beautiful Portsmouth Abbey on the dreamy Narragansett Bay, and the dynamic vitality of MIT campus. Another benefit of the trip is that the time we had together while traveling enabled us to have many long conversations about some important personal and family matters. This time we talked to Jacob at length about the necessity of improving his social communication skills.
This summer has felt long not only because of the vicious mosquitoes in our backyard, our hectic pace of life and the children’s medical situations but also because the weather has not been kind to us here in Kentucky in 2022. Beside a short, warm Spring, this year will be remembered for its tornados, multiple heat waves, record-breaking hot days, a long bout of drought and then severely damaging floods when the rain finally came. This summer has brought with it many technological troubles as well. David has experienced many technological issues since the year’s beginning and during the heat waves; we and many people we know experienced air-conditioning malfunction when we desperately needed it to work well. As I’m writing this post, James is going through his second strep throat this summer, soon after we found out David’s grandmother had died and that a good amount of money is needed to fix our leaky air-conditioner. The seemingly endless upheavals this year so far have made this summer feel twice as long to me as it should do, and I am ready to move on to cool, laid-back autumn.
Not that summer as a season doesn’t have its merits. One of my favorite things about summer is its music. There seem to always be a symphony orchestrated by the cicadas and crickets anytime one stops and tunes one’s ears to it. The summer heat and humidity help plants grow and come to fruition. We have some success with growing herbs and cayenne peppers this summer. I have been cooking with fresh herbs since the beginning of summer, and the quality of familiar dishes have been remarkably improved. I love smelling fresh herbs and tasting them in our homemade food. These past two weeks, we have enjoyed fresh cayenne peppers which enhance the flavors of most of our dishes. Summer is also the season when I enjoy seeing flowers, bees and humming birds. And one must not forget the magic of fireflies in summer evenings.
So, with those grateful thoughts in mind, I would like to pay a poetic tribute to summer with these following poems taken from a Pan Macmillan website and with photos taken during our outings and travels.
A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky by Lewis Carroll
A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?
Fireflies in the Garden by Robert Frost
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.
Warm Summer Sun by Mark Twain
Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.
Apples by Laurie Lee
Behold the apples’ rounded worlds:
juice-green of July rain,
the black polestar of flowers,
the rind mapped with its crimson stain.
The russet, crab and cottage red
burn to the sun’s hot brass,
then drop like sweat from every branch
and bubble in the grass.
They lie as wanton as they fall,
and where they fall and break,
the stallion clamps his crunching jaws,
the starling stabs his beak.
In each plump gourd the cidery bite
of boys’ teeth tears the skin;
the waltzing wasp consumes his share,
the bent worm enters in.
I, with as easy hunger, take
entire my season’s dole;
welcome the ripe, the sweet, the sour,
the hollow and the whole.
June by John Updike
The sun is rich
And gladly pays
In golden hours,
And long green weeks
That never end.
The time Is ours to spend.
There’s Little League,
Hopscotch, the creek,
And, after supper,
The live-long light
Is like a dream,
and freckles come
Like flies to cream.
Moonlight, Summer Moonlight by Emily Jane Brontë
’Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,
But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or stooping low are lending
A shelter from the sky.
And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.
Midsummer, Tobago by Derek Walcott
Broad sun-stoned beaches.
A green river.
scorched yellow palms
from the summer-sleeping house
drowsing through August.
Days I have held,
days I have lost,
days that outgrow, like daughters,
my harbouring arms.
A Green Thought by Katharine Towers
Say instead it was an evening in head-high
bracken with its smell of dark and medicine.
Thinking green of the infecting fern
where you may crouch and not be known,
lodging your feet for good amid the stalks.
A bower is a dwelling place or once it was
a cage for pent-up singing birds.
Look down to see the warp and weft of root.
All the world is in these clutches.
Look up to clock the fern’s drab underneath
blotched with spores you mustn’t breathe.
Breathe in deep. There’s nowhere else to live.
Over hill, over dale – from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
A wood near Athens. A Fairy speaks.
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green:
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dew-drops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits: I’ll be gone;
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.
More of our stories and summer poem here