WHERE SUMMER WENT
When summer break ends, parents tend to get overly sentimental and utter things like, “Where did the summer go?” Mind you, these are the same parents who claimed they’d go raving mad if they had to endure another camping trip with their barfing children. These are the same parents who thought they’d die of embarrassment when the neighbors called to inform them that their young children were running through the sprinkler without swimming suits . . . again.

Well, just in case you’re wondering, I’ll tell you where summer went.

Summer floated down the irrigation ditch along with my young son’s tennis shoes and childhood.

Summer flamed, then flickered out like old street lamps with flashes of exploding fireworks and ebbing orange embers in a dying fire.

Summer soared away like the injured sparrow my children brought home to mend – later watching with still breath as their old friend flew too high for returning.

Summer danced over hammer-smashed rocks, grasshopper collections, and weaving hollyhocks, like mountain rivers to the valley floors.

Summer hopped from family reunion to family reunion like backyard pet rabbits stopping long enough to nibble on the garden fare best suited to their liking.

Summer grew up, cut off from home roots, like toppled corn stalks in the field and heavy melons fallen from the vine.

Summer dozed off in an ocean of blackness like children in sleeping bags wishing on falling stars in the backyard and telling scary stories in the dark.

Summer swirled upward like backyard barbecue smoke laden with the steamy smell of thick, dripping steaks filling the air.

Summer aged from green to brown like dying tulips that save their buried hears for next year’s blooming.

Summer raced past us like hot August afternoon rainstorms filling flowers bed, gardens, and ditches with life-giving water, and then moving on.

Summer paraded past like colorful floats, precision marching bands, and candy-throwing clowns. Stretching our necks, we peer down Main Street, unsure that the celebration has ended.

Summer was cut short like faded blue jeans with threadbare knee-holes.

Summer melted away like soft butter left too long on the kitchen table when it is one hundred degrees outside in the shade.

Summer rustled past us in the morning air like freshly washed sheets on the line. Now at sunset, someone has taken in the linen, carefully folding it away for the next change of season.

Summer grew wild like tender asparagus along the ditch bank, ready to be plucked and savored at just the right instant. Now grown old, the ageing plant has gone to seed and survival.

Summer unfolded like the yellow rose in the white vase by the kitchen window. Early sunlight from the eastern sky uncurled the tightly closed bud, revealing the flower within. Now, the soft pedals have fallen.

Summer is going out. Children are growing up. Garden vines lie heavy. Harvest is near.

And that is where summer went.