The Rural Life of Verlyn Klinkenborg…an excerpt

A painting of a house and trees in the background.

   “From solstice till equinox, summer lasts only ninety-one days and six hours, a little longer if you count from Memorial Day till Labor Day. It seems like so much time. But the closer you get, the smaller summer looks, unlike winter, which looks longer and longer the nearer it comes. From a distance ~ from April, say ~ summer looks as capacious as hope. This will be the season we lose weight, eat well, work out, raise a garden, learn to kayak, read Proust, paint the house, drive to Glacier, and so on and so on and so on. This will be the season in which time stretches before us like the recesses of space itself, the season in which leisure swells like a slow tomato, until it’s round and red and ripe.

By the time Memorial Day comes and goes, flashing across the year like a meteor in the night sky, a certain realism creeps in. The universe expands, but not the calendar. Only August remains infinite. June and part of July are already booked solid, and the trouble with that is that once an event is penciled in, it’s already over. The festival tickets you bought in April, when summer still had all its weekends, now haunt you with regret.

The search for uncommitted time grows more and more desperate. The peonies are nearly past, and before long, the golden rod will bloom. The field-crickets are already ticking away the seconds of full summer.

  It’s enough to make a person crazy, that dream of a summer where dawn is as cool as the ocean and the time in which you happen to live, the day and hour itself, overlaps with all of the rest of time. Everyone reaches for fullness in summer, but the fullness that most of us know best belongs to the memory of childhood. What was it that made summer days so long back then and made the future seem so distant? What was the thing we knew or didn’t know?â€

This is an excellent book. Each chapter is a month of the year, so you can read a few pages each day and enjoy what he’s doing and thinking about at that time. I think he is an excellent writer and I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading brief articles daily. You can purchase his book on Amazon (Hardcover $19.50, Paperback $16, & Kindle $9.50). It makes an excellent gift also….