Saturday, 4 September 2010

Farewell summertime nest

The world outside turned golden this week. The temperature dropped and wind-rustled leaves took on a tell-tale brittle note. Summer is collapsing into autumn. It caught me by surprise again. Every summer seems eternal, even though I'm old enough to know better by now.

Which reminds me of Ray Bradbury, a hero of mine, who turned 90 at the end of August. 'Dandelion Wine' is a book about how kids experience summertime as the great magical forever. There are a thousand perfect summer moments in it, including one about fire balloons in the 1974 introduction he added to original 1957 book.
Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-and-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands a final moment in front of a porch lined with uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and  fathers, and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as life itself....My beloved family still sits on the porch in the dark. The fire balloon still drifts and burns in the night sky of an as yet unburied summer. 
Seasonally, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' follows 'Dandelion Wine'. Although principally concerned with autumnal menace, it also happens to contain one of my favourite passages on motherhood: 'They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity. They live inside the gift, know power, accept, and need not mention it. Why speak of Time when you are Time, and shape the universal moments, as they pass, into warmth and action?

Warmth passing.
Sunlight is starting to wane. Fun fairs are setting up across England, in all their weird kitschy glory. Just over the horizon, bonfires burn. Soon firecrackers will wake my children at night. 

I've spent the past few golden afternoons knitting together unrelated passages from the books of summer, and searching out pint-sized jumpers that were lightly cast aside by my autumn babies in the innocence and optimism of last spring. These items nest not in time, but usually behind the sofa.

1 comment:

  1. You make being a mother sound like poetry. I've sometimes felt being with a child stops time like nothing else. Kudos on begetting this blog!