Dear August

August is my least favorite month. It tends to be hot and humid and it’s our last hurdle to fall. But instead of dwelling on all of the things I dislike about August, I decided to write it a love letter. I went through the pictures on my phone and found quite a few from Augusts past to remind me of some of its good qualities. Would you please join me in greeting the new month?

Dear August,*
Today is August 1st! The final month before we start seeing real signs of fall. In August, I can start to see the angle of the sun change (opening picture). Just the changing angle sets me off course a bit — something mysterious is happening, but it can be hard to put my finger on it. And still — there are so many tangible things to love in August.

August and sunflowers make such a sweet pair. We watch their hardy stems grow all summer and wait for August to arrive. We watch their petals unfurl, one at a time, to reveal such a beautiful swirl of seeds. The perfect arrangement of seeds almost seems cartoon-like, as though it can’t have happened naturally. The goldfinches love the sunflowers and we can watch their tiny golden bodies flit from bloom to bloom, pecking away. And wilting sunflowers are almost as beautiful as those that are freshly bloomed. If sunflowers were the only wonderful thing to come out of August, then I would be very happy. But guess what? It gets better.

In August, we start finding monarch caterpillars. We take them inside, keep them fed in a jar, and watch their transformation into beautiful butterflies. It is so exciting to wake up one morning and find that the caterpillar has turned into a chrysalis. And then when the chrysalis hatches and we have a butterfly in a jar? Magical. When we first take it out of the jar, their wings still need to air out and they practice flapping for a bit. It’s in those moments when we can actually HOLD it. This is such a fun process to witness.

The hydrangea and hibiscus at our house are at full bloom in August. These are two other plants that we keep a close eye on all summer long and just wait for the flowers to explode. And by the end of August, I can feel the summer start to slip away so I start cutting small bouquets for the house. You’d think that would occur to me before now, but it always seems like such a hassle until the threat of no flowers is real.

We have to wait until August for red tomatoes! It’s agonizing, but worth it when it finally comes. We can also finally harvest watermelons, if we happened to plant any that year. We have plates and plates of tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, and sweet peppers. It’s really nice to just walk into the garden for a quick snack when necessary. August is a busy time in the kitchen — we are doing our best to can and freeze everything so that we can eat it throughout the year. August is also the time of year when I decide that we are absolutely not planting another garden next year. I spend most of this month telling myself that we can go to our local farm and be just as happy with the result. Happier, even!

I feel the need to cozy things up in August. I knitted up a little sweater-style tea cozy a few years ago (my Ravelry link) and started my first Spark cardigan in 2020. Historically, my needles are very busy in anticipation of the cooler fall months. I am definitely looking forward to that in 2022 as I plan my knitting projects for the last few months of the year.

The kids are extra cute in August, whether they’re sweating their tails off outside or hiding under the air conditioner with books and toys. We do spend a lot more time inside this month and that’s okay, especially since we try to make it as cozy as possible.

There’s plenty more that I can’t ever seem to get a picture of: hummingbirds at the feeder, tons of butterflies and dragonflies drifting around, the grasshoppers flying up a few feet and floating off to their next destination. Fall decorations are starting to arrive in stores. Dunkin’ will start serving pumpkin coffees on August 17th this year! The Dunkin’ line is extra long whenever this happens, but that first pumpkin swirl of the season? It can’t be beat. We’re also gearing up to officially start our school year and the Torchlight Curriculum is the perfect combination of beauty and rigor for us.

So, dear August, I guess you’re not all bad. Especially if you bring us thunderstorms and some slightly cooler weather than predicted? I would really appreciate that.

Love,
Katie

*It feels really strange to say Dear August, because our big cat is named August. So this kind of feels like a giant love letter to him!

16 thoughts on “Dear August

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  1. August is when my family would usually go on summer vacation when I was growing up (because camp was in June and July), so I’ve always looked forward to it. Around here, some parts of the garden are winding down, like our hydrangeas, which usually bloom early in the summer (isn’t it amazing what a big difference there is between ours and yours?). I am still waiting for my sunflowers, though!

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  2. Loved this, Katie, and it reminded me of one of the ways I’ve found daily gratitudes most helpful: Turning something ‘annoying’ on its head by being grateful for it. Your pictures were wonderful, too…and oh my, the change in the slant of the light!

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  3. My feelings on August (the month) are similar to yours, Katie… for me it feels like a waiting month… waiting for all my favorite things (I love fall with a passion!) But, I am settling in to see what August will hold. This letter is a good reminder of all that August brings!

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  4. My dad has a few small tomatoes on his plants that will hopefully be ready by late August. There’s nothing like fresh tomatoes off the vine! And oh my stars…the Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin coffee sounds so good! I’ve never had it.
    I’ve made a lot of progress on my current Kindle book. Yay! So I may actually be able to start The Shell Seekers tomorrow night. πŸ™‚

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    1. Fresh tomatoes are the best! And I really like Dunkin’s pumpkin coffee, even more than the Starbucks version. And it’s about 1/3 of the price πŸ™‚

      Yay for starting The Shell Seekers! I’m hoping to wrap up a book tonight and to start it tomorrow. I think it’s going to be the perfect late-summer book.

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  5. I, too, am a lover of Fall. So, thank you for this reminder that August is not all that bad – there is much to enjoy and love about this month too. Slowing down to appreciate it will make a difference. Here’s to an excellent month ahead!

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  6. I want to enjoy August (and every month) but I hope it will not be too hot and humid…fat chance of that happening in central Illinois! Fall is my favorite season and I look forward to cool, crisp weather!

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  7. Once upon time, August was one of Maine’s finest months—hot, but not too hot, not humid, and cool at night. I think that weather pattern has now been bumped to September. Anyway, despite all the things you don’t like about August—mainly the heat and humidity—there sure are many things to love. As you have beautifully illustrated with your photos.

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  8. Mary Oliver has a poem called β€œAugust” that they featured on the Instagram account @poetryisnotaluxury. I reposted it yesterday. I loved your letter to August. I tend to want to get through August so that Fall temps and weather will be closer but you have made me want to try to appreciate the month with new eyes! Thank you.

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  9. What a delightful post – I’d say you’ve had a subconscious love affair with August for years! It takes a little while for that sun shift to make its way south, and that is one of my favorite things (we might see lows in the 60’s by the weekend, too!) Also, I kind of love the idea of pumpkin things, even hot pumpkin things, and even if it means I have to sit by the air conditioner to enjoy … I’m marking my calendar for the 17th!

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