I walked the dog a little earlier than usual one morning last week, and it was dark enough that I had to pull out my safety vest.
The ducks woke up from their night coop as we passed and quacked to be let out, but there are foxes around so they have to stay in until it’s really daylight. I told them to go back to bed.
The moon was up, waning gibbous, and the road was silent. Well, silent until my neighbor’s rooster heard us and crowed. From down the road I could hear my roosters answer, and the call and response had begun. We still got back home before the songbirds woke up.
I’ve been trying not to listen when I hear people talking about the end of summer, trying to pretend these long, lovely days will never end. But in the early mornings, I can feel fall coming.
The evenings are still long enough to fool us all. When I get home from work — even if there’s been traffic, even if the milking hasn’t been started — there’s still time for summer. We’ll take a walk with the dog and one of the goats. We’ll tramp through the woods and down to the stream. We’ll take the kayak or fishing pole down to the pond. We’ll pick and chat in the garden, or just sit out in the goat yard and talk.
And we’ll delay dinner until 9 if we have to, to take advantage of that time.
It won’t last, we know. Soon we’ll be pulling potatoes and picking the last of the corn, watching the winter squashes ripen. The boy will be off to college, the leaves will start turning. My husband will despair the onset of winter.
But that’s later.
Today is a good time to put off whatever it is you can do just as easily after dark and step outside. If you’re lucky enough to have a lake or stream nearby, walk on over and stick your feet in. Dinner can wait.
Stuck in an office all day? Go for a walk at lunch time, cut through a park, check out the flower beds. You can eat at your desk in the afternoon.
Walk through the park. Walk through the woods, or walk around the block. Too tired to walk after work? Eat your supper outside.
It’s good for you. A recent study done by five University of Pennsylvania doctors found that converting a few trashed vacant lots into tiny green spaces — by removing garbage and planting something grass and a couple of trees — improved the mental health and well-being of people in blighted urban neighborhoods.
A little green can improve life.
Even people who don’t live in blighted urban neighborhoods manage to avoid green spaces in their own lives, moving from home to car to office and back again.
Step outside. Look at a tree. Look at the sky. Enjoy these endless summer days.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but they won’t last forever.
Greenpoint appears every other Sunday. Look for it next on Aug. 19. Reach Margaret Hartley at [email protected] or @Hartley_Maggie on Twitter. Opinions expressed in Greenpoint are hers and not necessarily the newspaper’s.