It was an exciting August in Washington, D.C. We not only had a hurricane, but also a 5.8 magnitude earthquake! Our natural world is usually gentle, and hot, well in to October. In fact, kids rarely need to wear coats over their costumes when they trick-or-treat on Halloween.
My Japanese calendar shows the same lush, humid climate in August. The Japanese morning glories are blooming sky blue, the Japanese fireflies are still out, though fewer than in June, and the Japanese mosquitoes ... sadly, the Japanese have them, too. The Japanese send syo-chuu-mimai, or traditional summer postcards, with classic images from their own hot summers and, over at the blog Tokyobounce.com, I found these lovely graphics. The first image is of morning glories, the second of fireflies, and the third of, not a pig, but a pig-shaped incense burner with a mosquito repellant coil in its mouth:
The writers at tokyobounce go on to say: "Of course, there are plenty of symbols that don't quite make the postcard cut – handkerchiefs doused in sweat, Salarymen in cool biz-ware, cicadas ...."
So summer is lingering here at 39 degrees north, about the latitude of Washington and Tokyo. But I've saved a calendar from Aeroflot, the airline of the former Soviet Union, a relic from 1992. What's August like there?
At 55 degrees north, it's autumn...in fact, it's a scene from Washington's November, yellow maple leaves and all.
This year I could draw torrents of rain (from the hurricane) and cracking earth (from the earthquake) for Washington's August symbols. I'd draw an air conditioning symbol, too, another one that wouldn't make the postcard cut!
But what are your symbols? What's late summer like where you are?
-- Sue Fierston paints and teaches just outside of Washington, D.C. in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As a painter, she works in acrylics and watercolor and is in the middle of a series called "100 Flowers." As a teaching artist, she works with teachers to bring art into their classrooms in grades 4-8. Her posts focus on her nature-themed art collaborations. For a look at her paintings or more about her teaching, check out her website at suzannefierston.com.