I am in a quiet place again, wondering if this state of mind may be one of my life's seasonal certainties - unavoidable August, if you will. My least favorite month of the year.
My youngest son might take offense at such a label, for one of the Augusts of my life brought him into our family. And other than the long days of doctor-ordered rest that were prescribed to combat pre-term labor, that August was pretty fantastic. Almost like the Augusts of my childhood.
When I was a youth, my parents - both history teachers with an affinity for America - took my sister and me on epic tent-camping vacations throughout the country at the start of each August. One year my dad had us follow the path (sometimes the actual ruts) of the Oregon Trail. Another year we visited as many national parks and landmarks as possible in two weeks: Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Tetons. The August before my 16th birthday, the summer that Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour starred in Somewhere in Time, my parents took us to Mackinaw Island, the film's romantic location, where they tolerated my teen angst while wondering how many more years I'd willingly join them.
No matter the arc of our journey, our travels would always bring us back by mid-August in time for the Fayette County Fair. I would spend that week of August helping my dad coordinate and run all the fair's special activities: horseshoe tournament, spelling bee, rolling pin throw, nail driving contest, sack race, pancake flipping contest, and an amazing amount of events more. Those were really good Augusts. Even the August prior to my 8th grade year when - sometime during my responsibilities at the fair - I discovered that I would need to begin shopping in the feminine hygiene aisle.
Where did those awesome Augusts go?
This many years later, even that august supply aisle is a distant memory. I wonder when August began to feel like an obstacle - a time to live through in order to get to some place else.
When the words "quiet place" announced themselves in my mind today, I remembered that I had written a blog with the same title already. I searched to learn when and discovered that I had written that
A Quiet Place blog during one of my life's Augusts: 2007.
Even that particular quiet place seems a lifetime ago; and in a way, it is. Involuntary Joy had just come out, and I had decided to move ahead with its second printing. By the next August, I had voluntarily put the book's momentum on hold to answer what I had perceived as a vocational call. Evidently I was in such a quiet place that August - 2008 - that I wrote no blog entries at all that month. But then, in mid-September, I emptied my heart into a blog that spoke of my frustrations as I hoped for a future.
And then there is last year's August - August of 2009. In the months previous to that August, I had fallen into such a quiet place, that I'd gone fully silent. I had written only one blog entry in May and one in June; both were republished pieces that I had originally written for others. But by September I was ready to live out loud again, letting go of things that no longer fit while looking for new undertakings to replace what felt lost.
From then until now, this InjoyBlog has been my lifeline. A safe place to be me: candid, introspective, honest, analytical ... vulnerable. I hope I can keep it that way. I hope I can resist the urge to fall deeply quiet again. Or maybe being quiet for a time - especially in August - is inevitable. Maybe it's my August thing.
Those of you who follow my InjoyBlog regularly - officially or unofficially - might recall that I regard birthdays as High Holy Days. Well, guess what. September is coming and all that month means to me: a time of review, renewal and rebirth.
I can hardly wait. Perhaps that is why I am in a quiet place. Perhaps this is my August of Anticipation. I hope so. And I guess there is only one way to find out: I plan to listen for lessons that linger in this August air, waiting for September to arrive.
September. My favorite month of the year.
Hey, September. I am looking forward to you and the possibility that you might bring a new way to live - maybe even a way that makes the month of August pretty awesome again.
Amen. May it indeed be so.