There is a giant pile of crusher run (road mix sand and heavy gravel) almost blocking the head of the driveway. Allen and the excavator come today! I am having my coffee at 4:30 AM, cleaning the kitchen, walking the dogs, then milking at 6 so I can have the milk strained and bottled before meeting him at 7.
I have been painting clapboards all week and fighting off a blue melancholy. Perhaps its the clapboards and the sense of zero progress. I’ve painted about two hundred and the pile still to paint is still gigantic. Or maybe it’s money anxiety, which wakes me up at night. Or maybe it’s just the inescapable fact that summer is over.
When I listen to the crickets at this time of year I always think of Mom (she helped my little sister and me catch them in our small hands) and remember Charlotte’s Web.
The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone,” they sang. “Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.”
The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year — the days when summer is changing into fall— the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.
Everybody heard the song of the crickets. Avery and Fern Arable heard it as they walked the dusty road. They knew that school would soon begin again. The young geese heard it and knew that they would never be little goslings again. Charlotte heard it and knew that she hadn’t much time left. Mrs. Zuckerman, at work in the kitchen, heard the crickets, and a sadness came over her, too. “Another summer gone,” she sighed. Lurvy, at work building a crate for Wilbur, heard the song and knew it was time to dig potatoes.
“Summer is over and gone,” repeated the crickets. “How many nights till frost?” sang the crickets. “Good-bye, summer, good-bye, good-bye!”
— Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
Yes, summer is over and gone. Yesterday was Luke’s last day; school starts for him on Tuesday. Dean is off to other jobs and from here on will only return to work with me sporadically to button things up. There is mess everywhere at the site. The mornings are dark now. And soon we will be locked into six months of cold and grey.
However, this morning Allen and the excavator are coming and I’m thrilled and happy. My list for him is so long he just looks at it and laughs. “How ’bout a month?”
I will hire him to come back later in the fall to dig the house septic system. But this is my “tractor paid” day and the tasks on Allen’s list are ones that will please me. I know he will soften the steep hairpin in the driveway and try to finish moving boulders and cleaning up the landscape. Then he will smooth out the far side of the lower pasture and with luck spread gravel over the rock field in the barn pasture driftway. If he has time — though this is pushing it — he might even be able to dig post holes for a run-in shelter (a project that’s been waiting for a year) in the barn paddock.
I’m jumping into the shower and into my clothes! Happy day!