Summer, you stay so little time with us, and yet the time you’re here, I complain about you all the time. Here comes the last of your girls, little August, that maid with the tousled hair and the browned skin, full of vim and vigor and heat and hassle. August will start off with the State Fair where she’ll fill her hair with a rainbow of ribbons. From there, she’ll test our patience with heat waves and cool spells, humidity and overripe vegetables, shorter days and cooler nights. We’ll find ourselves wondering where Summer went, even as we ignore the beauty of the last of the last-minute cookouts and the magnificent outlines of our barns against the orange western sky.

With August on our hands, we’ll finish off summer classes and finish off home improvements, even as we realize how close we are to having a house full of one more child. When we’re spending quality time together at opposite ends of the sweltering couch gasping for a breath of cooler air from the window or the fan, we’ll completely ignore the golden delight of corn kernels stuck between our teeth and the smell of the slow decay in the fields around us. As we’re seeking cold water from the taps and the pools and the fridge, we’ll forget all about the persistent chill in our house that we seek to escape once Winter lays her frosty fingers on the land.

August will bring school supplies and the possibilities that unsharpened pencils and new staplers pose to us, even as the backpacks beckon the one too young to leave me quite yet. August will fill the stores with blank paper and notebooks and we’ll have to wrestle ourselves away from the temptation to buy new pens instead of drywall supplies. August will linger just long enough to make us welcome September, and not long enough for us to get all the Summer things done.

Those loose colts of Summer fun, nieces and nephews and siblings and friends, will go back to the set routines and early bedtimes and predictable dinners. The garden will fade (though, for some reason, the weeds will not) and the house will sigh. We’ll talk about packing things up, because August always inspires that, and we’ll move slowly and deliberately through the last of our Summer days, even as they start slipping faster through our sweaty fingers.

August brings us pastures of breeding and thoughts of winter lambs. We won’t be able to forget how our first was born right before the lambing started in January, and thinking of babies will have us gazing down at my lurching navel, wondering just when the second will make her entrance into our outside world.

August will leave us still tousled and browned, still full of vim and vigor and heat and hassle. She’ll part company with us and skip along to cooler breezes and thoughts of combines and empty fields. As we leave her not-so-fair presence, we’ll breathe deeply and sigh longingly, because we’ll know you, dear Summer, have left us for another year.

*Dedicated to Prince Charming, who came up with the title.