Last Day of Summer

Source of photo: Dreamstime

Note to the reader: I wrote this late last summer. My husband, who hates winter above all other things, asked me to “save it until the middle of winter, when I really need to remember this day”. Tomorrow, my neck of the woods is expecting record-breaking wind chills. I figured this was as good a time as any to post this… Stay warm, my friends…


I am continuously, perpetually tired so unless it has to be done, getting me to do anything, ever, requires an all-out effort on the part of my loved ones. Mine is an old soul, prone to long bouts of sitting and thinking, or sitting and writing, or sitting and reading or sitting and knitting.

My husband is – and always will be – a perpetual puppy. In his opinion, sitting still is akin to being forced into a Medieval torture chamber.

Every evening of summer, my husband insists on going swimming in the river, at a park by the head pond, not too far away from our house. And because it is so important to him, almost every evening of summer, I summon the energy to accompany him. If it’s a really muggy day, I might even join him for a swim but usually, I am content to sit on the dock soaking my feet or to throw sticks for our dog to swim after. I grew up a townie who only swam in the public pool. I can swim just fine, but getting used to swimming in the river has been a process for me. I always shiver a bit at the murkiness of the water, wondering what critters are in there that I can’t see (and as it is a very healthy river, it is indeed teeming with life).

Last summer, we had a lot of rain and a number of cool days. I would not dream of complaining about such weather (and truth be told, I rather like it), knowing how my cousins in California feared almost daily that the wild fires would take their homes. Last summer, I know that they prayed daily for the rain that we received in such abundance.

But it was a hard summer on my husband, who lives for the heat and takes it personally if he doesn’t get enough of it. August 31 promised to be the last hot day of the summer and I was determined to take an active part in it; not just to ‘accompany’ my husband because I love him, but to join in; to savour it; to carry its memory through the cold days of winter that lay ahead.

It was just about as perfect as an evening can get. As is often the case, there was no one else there except us and our dog. The sun had settled on the horizon behind the clouds so that instead of blinding us as it often does at that time of day, it made the clouds glow as if they had caught fire: softly burning like the slow embers of a dying fire.

The water is always a little cold and I always make a terrible fuss easing my way in – shivering, exclaiming and mock-complaining every inch of the way. This time, though, I had forgotten my water shoes (the bottom is very rocky and very slippery) so I had no choice but to walk to the end of the dock and dive in. When I surfaced, after one loud exclamation of shock from the cold, I made up my mind to just be in the moment. As my husband, the-man-who-never-stays-still, did his evening lengths, I just…floated. I lay on my back – ears covered by the water and all sound muted – and watched a few solitary clouds floating in the still-blue sky to the east. I watched a duck (or maybe it was a loon: I wasn’t wearing my glasses) on the far side of the river, just barely skimming the water as he flew and (I assumed) catching an insect for his supper. As the evening slowly progressed, several swallows flitted back and forth through the trees along the bank.

When we were finished swimming, rather than drying off and getting back into the car as we usually do, we both went to sit on the dock so we could take in what remained of the light, now slipping fast over the horizon. Every once in awhile, the still water would break in slow concentric circles as a fish would break the surface to feed on a hoard of flying insects that were hovering just above our heads in an enormous funnel, clearly too engrossed in a late-summer mating ritual to bother with us or to pay attention to hungry fish. I spotted something of a decent size entering the water perhaps 200 metres away. I thought it might be an otter (we have seen them nearby, before) but instead, as it came closer, I realised it was a lonely duck, paddling by us, just feet away, completely disinterested in the two humans and the dog watching it in hushed fascination.

Alas, this was the signal our dog had been waiting for. Barking joyfully, he ran off the dock and leapt into the water, ready to make another friend.

Spell broken, we smiled at one another and began gathering our things. Our dog, it seemed, had announced that it was time to go home…

Patti Moore Wilson/©


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

24 thoughts on “Last Day of Summer”

  1. Beautiful, Patti — I felt like I was there with you and on this cold day it was a treat to read…and imagine. I also enjoyed your description of your husband as a ‘perpetual puppy’. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for that, Patti — we feel it! Our daughter loved your sweet comment on the post about her friend, Meghan. Appreciate your big heart — and your storytelling skills! xo!

        Liked by 1 person

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