Transitions are difficult. It is still summer, but the Canada geese are back in the fields. I already find myself concerned that it will soon be too late to make the most of the season. Suppose, I say to myself, you were on vacation here for only the last two weeks of August: What would you make sure to do?
It’s hard for those of us who live here year round to break the rhythm we keep the rest of the year. But it’s a shame not to find time for the beach, to get on as well as in the water, to eat outdoors, to sit down with the people you enjoy who are rarely here during the rest of the year, to attend at least a few of the talks, shows, concerts, fairs — the myriad things that seem to have grown exponentially this year (not to mention the expensive restaurants and costly benefits).
If you were here for the rest of August, you would be able to take advantage of everything going on around you, as well as of the farm stands at their best. They, too, seem to have multiplied this year. Depending on how serious you are about what you eat, you might even vacation here just for the corn and tomatoes, the squashes and berries.
I was delighted recently to find blueberries marked “local” at one of the farm stands. I supposed they were grown on the North Fork, although I didn’t ask. They seemed to taste as good as those I remember from my childhood, which we picked ourselves on my grandparents’ farm. We had one cow for a while, but blueberry bushes had taken over the hilly pastures. My grandmother used to make a fine upside-down blueberry cake, which she insisted on calling a pie, but my grandfather’s blueberry activities were more unusual.
Several times in season, he would pick enough berries to fill a big pail and then walk the three or four miles to the nearest hotels to sell them. When I was a kid, I thought he did it for the few cents they brought, but now I think he did it to relive his childhood in rural Moldova. (My grandmother once told me that she fell in love with him when he jumped from the ground to the top of a wagon filled with hay.)
Summers are always too short, even if you are grown up and don’t have to go back to school. But I have to remind myself that the off-season is plentiful, and the weather is often exceedingly beautiful. I have relived my own childhood by picking beach plums and cranberries, and, yes, they are the fruits of fall.