August Angst

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time” – Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

August is always a melancholy time of year for me. The summer days seem to stretch on forever, but here in the Pacific Northwest the days are getting noticeably shorter. We’re reaching the peak of the summer heat, and yet there’s something in the sky and air that makes me sad and a little nervous.

Undoubtedly this is partly a learned reflex from going to school as a youngster. Early August marked the “less than half of your summer left” point. As much as I would enjoy rafting down the Sammamish River, or riding my bike, or just laying around eating taco flavored Doritos while reading National Geographics, it was clear that the endless summer was gonna end soon. Our shadows were growing longer.

My guess is that this anxiety isn’t simply cultural, but also stems from some deep rooted biology. There’s an explosion of activity in the natural world during August.

Today on my hike, I saw hundreds of dragonflies, in all sorts of metallic blues, greens, and copper.

The blackberries are at their ripest this week, and I carefully dined upon them like an overly fussy bear fattening up for the winter.

There are golden grasses that have grown far over my head, with vibrant green growth near the edge of a dried up pond.

Birds and bugs are flying around everywhere. And yet, in a few months this whole area will be a muddy wetland. The dragonflies will disappear, the bugs will go away, and the birds…well, most of them stick around here, but they’re gonna be COLD.

So, what is my creative goal for August? Honestly, it’s to soak up as much of the August sun as I can, and get outside while it is still warm and the wildfire smoke hasn’t rolled in yet. I’m working on separating creativity from productivity, and I’ve realized how vital it is to take care of your soul in order to be creative. This is the time to store up on good memories, go on long walks to clear my head, and focus on getting my mind and body as healthy as possible. These summertime experiences will be the creative stores to keep me going through the long winter ahead.

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