When the Summer Days Hang On

20160822_120630.jpgPerhaps my birthday is in the wrong decade but I love reading very old books. One of the most delightful ones I’ve been enjoying lately is by Gladys Taber, an author who wrote in the 1950’s. Taber chronicles her everyday life in Connecticut at ‘Stillmeadow Farm’, the home and garden and Irish Setter-filled place where she lived for over 30 years.

“Stillmeadow Seasons” is a collection of essay/chapters, each depicting one month on the farm in the life of Gladys and family. Taber finds joy in the simplest things and writes lovingly of not just Springtime and gardens and picnics but also about housework, chores in the garden and mucking out kennels.

The August chapter begins,

“Early morning is like an opal, glowing and soft and cool, with a hint of the day’s fire in the depths. It has a breathless perfection, a lucent air laced with silver of bird song. And, oh, the lovely scent–of roses, of musky ripening tomatoes, of cucumbers, bean vines. (The) cows move from the red barn with deliberation, mounting to the upper pasture. Shep follows, his tail a dark flag against the green hill. And a file of small kittens is visible, coming on powder-puff paws after the warm milk.”

Simple joys, yes? Kittens, birdsong, wandering cows, opalescent mornings.  Reading Taber’s words are a drink of fresh water to my soul.

There’s one line in particular that made me smile,

“A day ought to have forty-eight hours, especially in August.”

Of course if you’re the mother of preschoolers or Elementary-age children, you probably wish there were 10 hours in the day–and please, can school start soon?!

But in terms of book-reading there are never enough hours in the day.  Many of the books I intended to finish are still stacked about my house — although I did finish the second of Beverly Cleary’s autobiographies–such a delight! However, the summer days seem to call too loudly for me to find more than 20 minutes at a time to be still and read anything.

Perhaps you can relate.

There is a hint of Fall in the air and the promise of cooler days to come (although some of these very warm days make me wonder). I look forward to a slower, quieter time to sit with a good book, relishing the language and phrasing, the beauty and power of words.

If you’d like to see what’s on my nightstand you can click here for my updated ‘On Books’ page.

Let me know in the Comments what YOU’ve been reading…(picture books count!)

13 thoughts on “When the Summer Days Hang On

  1. I adore learning about other people’s book stacks! I’d planned to do a lot of reading this summer, but summer had other plans. Still, I read a couple of memoirs (Four Seasons in Rome was fabulous), reread The Hidden Art of Homemaking, one work of fiction (1984, spurred on by my son who was also reading Orwell for the first time), and just finished Love and War (a book about marriage by John and Stasi Eldridge). Getting ready to make my reading plan for fall.

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    1. Natalie, you’re right about summer, it often has ‘other plans.’ Thanks for sharing what’s in your book stacks…I think I’ve heard of “The Hidden Art of Homemaking”–by Edith Schaeffer, maybe?
      I also look forward to the less noisy Fall for more reading time and writing as well.
      Thank God for seasons, eh?

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  2. These titles, Jody and Laurie, are going on my book list for sure. You’ve got me very intrigued! Best book I’ve read in the last six months or so was Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland. Lisette embarks on a search for seven paintings hidden from the Nazis, in and near a remote French village. Wonderful character development and poetic descriptions. Have also read a couple of Jan Karon’s “Mitford” books recently. Love her writing style, the eccentric characters, the humor as well as wisdom she weaves in.

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    1. Nancy, Alyssa loaned me a copy of ‘Girl in Hyacinth Blue’ after the Retreat. That was the first time I’d heard of Susan Vreeland. I’ll look for Lisette….maybe at the library. If I buy another book I’m gonna be broke!

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