Could I please have just one minute of peace and respite?
I’m speaking for many of us.
I promise we’ll get right back to the worry, stress, anger, anxiety and genuine fear of everything that is swirling around us, but please, just give me a breather.
Ordinarily, one way to do that is to take a gentle walk in the neighborhood. But it’s August.
Another way would be to spend some comforting time working in the garden. But it’s August.
Not one but two friends, one from California, the other from France, emailed me that they would like to come visit me in Oklahoma this August. I didn’t answer either one. I don’t want to see any fool friend who comes from California or France to Oklahoma in August. Or, in September, which is just another part of August with a better name and a song that Frank Sinatra sings. I’ll answer them later, when they have had time to come to their senses.
People who call or write us from afar and ask, “How are you?” or “So, what’s going on there?” don’t deserve more of an answer than, “It’s August.” Or, if we are feeling expansive, “It’s August. What more can I say?”
I’m trying to wrest a positive thought from the heat and humidity and will myself to imagine pleasant experiences, and this led me to research holidays and observances of the month of August. I’m too dehydrated and depleted to actually participate in any of them, but I might imagine vicarious activity.
August offers a vast variety of month-long celebrations: American Artists Appreciation Month, American History Essay Contest Month, Happiness Happens Month, National Crayon Collection Month, National Golf Month, National Read-a-Romance Month, and so many other good causes.
August also is a month to celebrate specific foods. Besides its being Get Acquainted with Kiwi Fruit Month — and can’t we all fantasize about parties and events featuring kiwi — we have an opportunity to rejoice about fennel, catfish, brownies, goat cheese, panini, peaches, sandwiches, onions and rye. I’m working on some merry food-themed verses, and oh what fun finding words that rhyme with fennel: kennel, gentle, phenyl, accidental, judgmental, sentimental and elemental, for starters. I can’t wait to get to panini.
I want to put month-long celebrations aside for a while to note week-long observations. Air Conditioning Appreciation Days end Aug. 15; Elvis Week is Aug. 8-16; National Bargain Hunting Week overlaps with National Button Week and National Farmers’ Market Week during the first week of August.
There’s also National Motorcycle Week, which includes the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. International Tree Climbing Week starts Aug. 7, Kool-Aid Day is so big it takes three days (Aug. 14-16), and we’re barely through with Minimally Invasive Surgery Week (Aug. 26-29, which doesn’t look like an entire week to me) before we have to start International Bat Nights (Aug. 29-30).
I’m running out of juice, but there are still specific daily holidays and observances. Sometimes the dates wobble from one day to another, depending on which list I consult. I like the Aug. 1 listing that is loaded with National Girlfriend’s Day, Respect for Parents Day, National Play Outside Day, National Raspberry Cream Pie Day and International Can-It Forward Day (sponsored, I think, by Ball home canning jars). I’m not sure what I think about celebrating International Childfree Day, created for those who choose to be non-parents. I think I prefer the more festive Spider-Man Day and Sandcastle Day, which fall on the same day.
Oh, so much to choose from because August in a long month with 31 days, which, in Oklahoma heat and humidity, seems much longer.
Which brings me back to attempting a calm zen way of thinking about it. I read a newspaper article about finding zen in household chores. Wash the dishes and smell the soap, feel the bubbles. Sweep the floor and note the repetition, see the dirty spots. Mindful cleaning, I’m told, offers health benefits, relaxation and joy.
I’m going to do that with August. I feel the temperature; I breathe in. I feel the humidity; I breathe out.
In and out.
In and out.