I need to write a serious entry. There’s no denying I feel I owe this site that. It’s been a far too long period since I’ve done that and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I’ve written extensively on my mental state and while that reflects HFA, it’s not about it. I need something real.
Instead I’m going to write about August.
It’s my opinion that August is indeed the cruelest month. August is the pit of the year, the moment where everything that has festered boils over. Everything is stagnant to the point of breeding disease it feels. It’s a hot, unpleasant period where the sky and the Earth bake us. It’s a moment that burns all the more as it’s the last gasp of summer before things turn cooler.
Most American Children have an image of August as such due to school starting up. I certainly have felt that in years past, especially in August 1996 which in retrospect feels even underprepared for what came next. Summer is ending and that stinks as a kid. Admittedly as High School hits it looks better since by that time you have more power, but still, August is the harbinger of the end.
Then there’s the heat. Who among us likes the heat? The heat is as vicious as the cold but the opposite effect comes from it. Instead of energizing as the cold does, it wilts a person. Heat drains all energy, all fluids. It creates anger and frustration born from discomfort. The heat can’t be overlooked.
But one thing makes me view August with suspicion: the culture. It’s no longer rare for great movies to open in August but by and large the last two weeks of the month are a cultural sewer across the board. Any books hit earlier in the month. Any movies the same. Tv looms later. What does hit is garbage of the worst kind. Lack of decent culture is the worst.
I think there’s a deeper reason to August being the cruelest month though. It stems with where it lands on the calendar. Spring and summer are distinct seasons but they fade in gradually. Fall is a sudden shift to the dark. Light recedes. The temperatures drop. The year is headed to an end. August is the reminder of that fact. Everything is as at its peak as it’ll get. In September change comes.
And of course there are anniversaries. At the end of the month, I face one year after Lauren. One year of violent bouts with depression that have recurred. My soul is openly not at peace. August has always felt haunted. Now it is.
Time will take August away. It won’t be clear at first. Much of the first week of September carries the fetid stench of the month. But in time the leaves turn, the air cools, and we’re in a new cycle.
And the cruelty ends.