I’ve always loved the German word Spätsommer, which means ‘late summer.’ It really is a time of its own, deserving a single word of its own.
Look at the dry grass, listen to the crickets. A praying mantis clings to the heavy head of a zinnia, green body vivid against a hot-pink blossom. The trees mostly still hold their leaves, though the other morning I saw a shower of gold float across the lawn.
There is sadness this Spätsommer as news of another horrific shooting clouds this corner of the world. We have had so many of these: the furious, impotent killer; the premeditated, evil act. The inevitable candlelight vigils, memorial services trying to celebrate the beautiful lives of good, kind souls, the old-fashioned church funerals with organ music and sobbing relatives.
The politicians shake their heads twice. The first time means they are sorry, the second time means they will do nothing at all. Watch them turn their backs and return to their house of mirrors.
The NRA shifts its fat thighs and squeals in delight when gun sales rise yet again.
Spätsommer. Lingering light, the scent of tomatoes on my hands, dried grass on my flip-flops. A touch of poison ivy. Pain and mourning in the heart, in the wind. The sound of crows in the distance.