current events

August: The Psychological end of Summer in all its Fogginess

It’s the end, the end, the end of summer
The end, the end, the end what a bummer

-The Steel Monkeys

 Technically summer ends on September 22.  However, summer is at its psychological end. August is at its end. One long weekend before we have to hit the books, review the ledgers and pump up the caffeine.  August had its steaming hot days and those odd days of cool air. The hot days were vivid reminders of the days of July when summer was revving up. The cool days were foreboding, revving up our winter anxieties. To further those winter blue thoughts, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a harsh, harsh winter.  I surely hope no Superstorms or snowtobers come to pass this year.  But the way things are going on this last day of August, I would not be surprised if we were hit with a massive one-of-a-kind storm.

The month of August has an erratic circadian rhythm to it that seems to seep into our land, our souls and our bodies.  Historically, Anglo-Saxons used to call August Weod monath, which means weeds month, because it is the month when weeds and other plants grow most rapidly.  The weeds grow rapidly and take over the good earth leaving one with sore thumbs from hour upon hour of digging up the weeds.  While the weeds are out of control, some bats start to migrate to warmer climates where they spend the winter. Other bats migrate to caves where they then hibernate.  A cold dank dark space seems a fitting end to August.  Animal migration patterns and rapidly growing weeds suggest a sense of restlessness and movement to the month of August.

August has been a time of profound words and actions. Many decades ago in the month of August the horrific World War II started setting in motion much death and destruction. On August 1 1944, Anne Frank wrote her last diary entry in which she noted “[I] keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would like to be, and what I could be, if…there weren’t any other people living in the world.”   Almost exactly two decades later, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Junior made his soul stirring “I have a dream” speech lighting fire to a civil rights movement.

Now we are either on the eve of military action or perhaps just more hyped-up inaction. Some politicians are ramping up the need to address the use of chemical weapons in Syria but appear unable to muster the right words or actions to coalesce a set of objectives. August is ending leaving us in a state of forward confusion and inaction.  It is as if the cold and warm air masses are converging over our collective thinking caps causing a giant fog; a possible Fog of War that is.

So, here we are at the end of August. What is to come is a bit hazy and hard to predict. Will we be engaged in military action? Will the sequestration end? Will we ever have a budget again?  Back in the day, centuries ago actually August served as a time to engage in trial marriages.  August first has been referred to as Lammas Day-harvest day. It marks the end of the summer growth.  Furthermore, surrounding Lammas day is an old ritual where two young people would agree to a “trial marriage” lasting approximately 11 days to see whether they were really suited for a life-long commitment.  Eleven days sure makes Kim’s 72-day marriage seem like a lifetime, eh?  Interestingly, in the Inspector Morse television series, Lammas Day is presented as a Satanic (un)holy day, “the Devil’s day”.  It could be thought of a day to reap what one sows. August used to be a time for foretelling marriages and trying out partners. Seeing that we are in a collective fog, we could definitely use some useful foreshadowing rituals. Onwards to September.

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