The passing of summer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

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Sharon Kennedy

The timothy has gone to seed. The goldenrod is in full bloom. Queen Anne’s Lace unfolds in the warmth of the mid-morning sun. Black-eyed Susans fill the ditches. Robins have left without a word of farewell. The Chippewa County Fair is only a memory. Another school year has started. All around us familiar signs report that summer is passing and soon leaves will yield their brilliant green to red and orange. They’ll drift to the ground as cool breezes announce the arrival of autumn.

This was an odd summer. It seemed much colder than usual, but perhaps that was due to the brisk temperature in my home. Almost every day I donned the sweater I had worn all winter. My petunias fulfilled my prophecy that they wouldn’t look much different in September from what they did in May. The impatiens next to them grew like weeds, but the petunias failed to produce more than a few new blooms. I transplanted some flowers from the backyard, but some still wait to be moved to a better place where they won’t be threatened by the blade of my lawnmower. I didn’t finish whacking the tall grass around my spruce trees and probably won’t bother with it now. Maybe I’ll have more energy come spring.

Sharon and Jude ready for schoolSharon and Jude ready for school

Miss Peggy, my feline friend, was not pleased with all the noisy traffic on our road, but I told her the guys working on Six Mile will soon be wrapping up their equipment and things will return to normal. She seems to enjoy the late appearance of sunlight as it filters through my curtains. Lately she hasn’t scratched at my bedroom door in her attempt to rouse me from my slumbers. She said she’s looking forward to cooler weather when I’ll put a warm blanket in her box and she’ll snuggle underneath it. At least I think that’s what she said when she meowed a greeting this morning.

My outside work is unfinished. I didn’t paint my back steps or an old shed. The wood trim around my front door remains as it was when the porcupine chewed it. I didn’t bother to slap some white paint on it. Weeds pushed their way through cracks in my cement. I let them grow instead of pulling them. Ants created little piles of sand in my garage and around my front door. I swept the sand away a few times, but eventually, I gave up. Now I merely step around it and let the ants do their thing.

I did accomplish a few things that had nothing to do with chores. I finished a book of short stories that is available for sale. I arranged a collection of newspaper columns my publisher wants as a future book. I wrote stories for toddlers that may or may not see the light of publication. I’m almost finished writing a sequel to the “SideRoad Kids.” My summer was filled with words more than deeds.

Unlike the trees, wildflowers and fields that will rest until spring, my fingers will continue to write. An excerpt from the first line of a poem by Keats haunts me and pushes me forward. “When I have fears that I may cease to be before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain” is always in my thoughts. I waited too long to commit to paper what was in my mind. Now I rush to finish what I should have started decades ago.

— To contact Sharon Kennedy, send her an email at Kennedy’s latest book, “The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County,” is available from her, Amazon, or Audible.

This article originally appeared on The Sault News: Sharon Kennedy: The passing of summer

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