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The End of Summer: Inside of a Dog

Inside of a Dog

a monthly feature by

Kate Dowling

The End of Summer

In my twenties I used to have an irrational fear about the passing of time. I used to think that the days would go so quickly that I’d wake up tomorrow and I’d be 60 years old. Whilst waking up and being 60 will happen one day with any luck, I appreciate it hasn’t happened yet. Time does disappear, but hasn’t quite gone with a snap of the fingers like I feared it would.

And yet time does indeed pass. There’s no stopping it. Many years have elapsed since those thoughts in my twenties and what I have now is a sense of running out of time. I have a feeling that a lot of my time has gone, with the added frustration of knowing that I haven’t yet got to where I wanted to be in life. On a foundation of years and years of trying, I wonder if I have enough time left to achieve the things I really want to happen.

For me there is one particular point in the calendar year that marks the way time is disappearing more than any other. This is when birds migrate from my home town to their destination in a much warmer climate. The swifts arrive at the very end of April or early days of May, seeking the lighter days of the summer for their breeding season, but they are gone all too soon.

You know the swifts are back because you can hear them. They have such a specific call, that the groups they fly in are called screaming parties. This is my sound of summer and watching them for the few short weeks they are here is one of my greatest pleasures.

But then they are gone. In August the skies fall silent again as the swifts migrate away. It brings me a real sadness, a grieving, not only to know that they won’t be back for such a long time, but that another summer is almost over. Yet more time is spent. It’s time that I won’t get back.

I wrote this poem to capture my sadness, my longing and my love of the swifts.


Neither sight nor sound

Of the swifts today,

So they must have started

Their long flight home.

This knowledge brings me

A lasting melancholy,

As another year is waning

With no good news.