Yesterday, there was a "funeral" for Summer 2010 down at Bethany Beach. Jazz Band. Coffin. People in costumes. The place was packed.
Happens every year, I understand.
The calendar in my new home office says that Autumn "officially" begins with the "autumnal equinox, scheduled for September 22, 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere."
It's one of two times a year when the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, and the day and night are of approximately equal length. The other time, of course, is during the vernal equinox, also known as “the first point of Aries,” the point at which the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north. This occurs about March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
It would appear that the rumors of the death of summer, like those once circulated about Mark Twain, have been greatly exaggerated.
It's a glorious morning here on Rehoboth Bay. At 7 AM, the temperature was 74 degrees out on my deck with a warm, gentle wind coming up from the west across Indian River. The sky holds a few billowy white clouds which slowly float by like great fluffs of whipped cream in a dish of melted blueberry ice cream.
The heron, egrets and gulls are feasting on breakfast in the marshes. A pair of gulls suddenly fly up from the marshes, squabbling over a small fish one has in her beak. An occasional fish jumps over the ripples in the water, daring his predators to interrupt or end his joy.
Nothing seems either to have ended or begun - except another day in the last few, glorious days of the Season of Summer.
I must say, however, that it is noticeably quieter here this morning. Fewer cars in fewer driveways. More and fuller trash cans out for pick up later this morning. I have not heard one boat pass by the house this morning, where there had been at least a dozen by this time yesterday morning.
The parking meters will begin to disappear from some of the streets in Rehoboth and free parking will soon return to the entire city. Soon and very soon, I'll be able to put away the container of quarters I normally carry around in the car during July and August.
I'm thinking that perhaps it's not such a bad thing to send out the rumor that Labor Day is the "official" End of Summer. It saves the last few days of this glorious season for those who know that the world is not ruled by Madison Avenue or Wall Street but rather by the ancient rhythm of the days, which can not be tamed by keeping them locked away behind the bars of a dollar sign.
I found myself singing that wonderful hymn - #8 in the 1982 Hymnal, with those glorious words by Geoffrey Anketel Studdert-Kennedy, and haunting melody by Elkanah Kelsay Dare - as part of my morning prayer:
Not here for high and holy thingsLet the end of Summer, 2010 begin. It's all a gift, anyway. Something to be enjoyed and used to the honor and glory of God. Until it ends and a new Season in the Cycle of Life begins.
we render thanks to thee,
but for the common things of earth,
the purple pageantry
of dawning and of dying days,
the splendor of the sea,
the royal robes of autumn moors,
the golden gates of spring,
the velvet of soft summer nights,
the silver glistering
of all the million million stars,
the silent song they sing,
of faith and hope and love undimmed,
undying still through death,
the resurrection of the world,
what time there comes the breath
of dawn that rustles through the trees,
and that clear voice that saith:
Awake, awake to love and work!
The lark is in the sky,
the fields are wet with diamond dew,
the worlds awake to cry
their blessings on the Lord of life,
as he goes meekly by.
Come, let thy voice be one with theirs,
shout with their shout of praise;
see how the giant sun soars up,
great lord of years and days!
So let the love of Jesus come
and set thy soul ablaze,
to give and give, and give again,
what God hath given thee;
to spend thyself nor count the cost;
to serve right gloriously
the God who gave all worlds that are,
and all that are to be.
It's the resurrection of the world, carried out right before our very eyes. Every day. Day by day.
We can mourn its passing or enjoy its presence while it's here. Now. The choice is ours.
Either way, the Lord of Life allows us to do with the day whatever we will - to squander it foolishly or squeeze it out to the very last drop, until the blue sky drips slowly into the dark of night, only to follow the light of the stars into the brightness of a new morning.
Today - This Day, which the Lord has made - is absolutely glorious, no matter where in the Season or on the calendar it happens to land.
You'll excuse me while I dive into it.