The days are still very warm but there’s a very noticeable change to the light. With shorter days, the sun’s angle is getting lower, shadows longer, evenings cooler and the nights heavy with dew. In the park, yellow leaves on the ground, fallen early due to drought, give a distinctly fall-like air. I remember my mother often saying to me that this time of the summer is Mätäkuu, when food quickly begins to rot, a term common to pre-refrigeration days. In my kitchen, the fruit flies are quick to appear with any slightest bit of ripe fruit in the bowl and in my compost pail under the sink.

August is the month of my late father’s birthday (he’d now be 86 if alive), and just now it dawned on me that his name, Kusti, is derived from Augustus, after whom this month was named. I’d not made the connection before between his name and his birth month. (This month is called “elokuu” in Finnish.) According to Nordic Names, Kusti comes from the Swedish name Gustav, which was also the name of a few Swedish kings including the present one. Then at Behind the Name I find that Kusti is the pet form of Kustaa or Aukusti, the Finnish form of Augustus.

This makes me smile. You too, Dad?

And I see that while I’ve been doing my own ruminating here, there’s been a wonderful conversation on August and summer holidays over at Cassandra Pages, and there are some great poems on August at Via Negativa. Enjoy these last days of summer!

PS. Dave, in the comments below, reminded me that there’s another “August” post written by Leslee at 3rd House Journal. I’d enjoyed it earlier and maybe that inspired my own nostalgia.

August 20, 2006 in Being an Artist, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric, Home by Marja-Leena