august and everything after

Summer is long, and this was our eighth. I write sparse, heavy words here. What can one say? It's hard? The kids are tough? I'm exhausted and poured out? I medicate with bright nail polish and 90s rock.

It's always cold the day after the summer staff disappear. Taillights fade and clouds swoop in, taunting. Leaves fall, daring me to hold it together. Vacation is still a few weeks off and Jim works straight through and did we offer every sun-lit day on the altar of camp?

It's foolishness, petulance. The grey burns off by noon. A friend calls me off the couch and into the woods. Wrangling our three, we set out, spying frogs and fawns. A water snake. Fox holes and hoof prints. Stay on the trail! There's poison ivy--and butterflies! Not monarchs, those are bigger. Dylan knows things, and she's right.

The creek is cold, but I'm not searching for omens anymore.

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