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My friend Melinda came to visit the Long Island Sound this week, an escapee to our northern climate from the swelter of the Carolinas. We took a short walk on the lawns of an old Gold Coast mansion in the neighborhood. “Is August really your favorite month?” she asked me, and even though I was crab-walking in the shade of an enormous locust tree (the better to focus on the ground beneath my feet) I could detect a tone of skepticism in her voice.

“Yeah,” I said. “I really like August.” And then I held up a bright yellow flight feather (see above) that I’d just discovered in the dust and dried leaves, bits of Robin’s egg shell and wind-blown needles from nearby evergreens: My trophy of the day.

Yes, I really, really like August.

When I found that yellow feather I already had my hands full with my other treasures (see above): an owl’s feather and a bird’s nest — all from simply keeping August on my mind, and eyes on the ground.

Yes, it was the strangest thing, finding that bird’s nest upside down on the grass. I guessed it had fallen out of the plane tree above, which gave me the idea to start hunting underneath any one of the hundreds of ancient hard wood trees on this property. I only had to search one other tree to find my feathers — now I ask you: What else do you need to make you love August?

(Besides not living in Texas or North Carolina, or Georgia, or any of those places you tell me about where August bores into your skull like a thousand hot pokers and wears you down like a thousand wrap-around wool blankets infested with chiggers and bad news, that is.)

Not to brag or anything, but today it’s 74 degrees, cloudy, with signs of rain. This, even on the Long Island Sound, is a gift in August: a day when I just might have to put on a sweater. It’s as good a tea day as it gets (in August): and that’s what I’ll be doing today. I’ve picked out two kinds of tea (Brodie’s Edinburgh Blend and Tealuxe Copely Place Vanilla) for my long afternoon of lounging and extended mental waywardness. I will be in the exact right frame of mind to consider each and every delicious kind of tea you all  have invented this past week, and doing my best to pick a winner. It won’t be easy, but I can always resort to numerology, spells, a throw of the  I Ching, or reading tea leaves if I have to.

Also this weekend I’ll be working on a new painting — which I’ll show here on Monday — as my art journal lesson of the month.

5 comments to August finds

  • Deb

    With the abundance of black feathers on my lawn and patio, I’m assuming the cat finally got even with the crows that were harrassing her and stealing her food. Or maybe she was just fattening them up…

  • August

    This is the best August ever. I should’ve adopted the name long ago. I feel loved.

    The boy and I just got back from a walk in the field. We found three kinds of spider webs. Orb, funnel, and that crazy kind I don’t know the name of.

  • Ann

    I had just emailed a friend on the superiority of August in Vermont vs. August in North Carolina. The roadside wildflowers survive in Vermont: goldenrod, Queen Anne’s Lace, milkweed, purple loose strife (I know it’s an invasive but it’s a beautiful color), cattails, etc., with asters of several shades to come. In N.C. in this heat, the roadsides look like someone’s gone by with a flame thrower. (I lived in N.C. for fourteen years.)

  • Deborah

    In the Midwest, August is the time of Monarch caterpillars munching away on the milkweed — on their way to becoming the generation of butterflies that will migrate to Mexico & start back North next spring. But I am writing this from Seattle, where is it NOT 102 with bad air quality. I soooo needed a break from that!

  • Nadine

    In New Jersey, where I live for the time being, today was perfect. It was cool (82 F) so I opened all the windows in the house to get some real air for a change. There was a breeze all day and my cats took turns lounging on the wide windowsills of my office where I could admire them while I worked. (I have 4 cats.) This is the best weather day so far this month [August].

    When I lived in Alaska, one year my family went to the State Fair and there were snow flurries for a bit. It was Aug 31. I wore a brown sweatshirt and jeans because in Anchorage in August you need to keep warm.

    I’ve been in South Florida in August and I don’t think it’s so bad. It felt like Manhattan on a regularly humid August day. I got used to it pretty easily.

    That’s all I can geographically contribute about August. Personally, I like August because most of the month is under the jurisdiction of the only zodiacal cat.

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