Editor’s Note: The second last chapter

August is a magical month. As the summer draws to a close, we hope to squeeze in one more day trip to the beach, a last shopping excursion, a final visit to the cottage.

The flowers are gone, the rain is (mostly) gone, the heat is also leaving. The excitement of travelling and vacationing is being replaced with contentment and regrets, as well as plans for next summer to do the things we didn’t get around to this year.

Indeed, this year was a strange one. Where last year everyone was in quarantine, this year was a limbo. We were unsure of what we were allowed to do and to what levels of caution we should adhere. With the vaccines, there was a new feeling of safety and relief but the new variants of COVID-19 worked to reinstill fear.

Still, we have hope now for some semblance of normal.

Although I understand that there are things that should not return to normal—such as the lack of infrastructure in northern communities that made quarantining difficult, the ill-equipped mental healthcare system, the ridiculous prices of housing and so much more—there are some things I am excited about doing again.

I am not one for much travel. I spent most of my days reading. I worked through novel after novel, some poetry books and many nonfiction ones. I drew many pictures of mostly still rooms and plants and I even pressed my own flowers.

I spent my days alone, often in silence. I would speak only a few words of greeting with my family. I left my phone uncharged for days and ignored messages from friends.

My window faces west and in the evenings, the sun hides behind a large tree to then bask my room in warm orange, gold and pink. I’ve never much enjoyed the colour orange, but this is different.

The earlier months of summer are too bright and winter covers everything in darkness; but in August, everything glows. It was in this stillness, silence and solitude that I found myself most satisfied.

I have been silent and still for a long time. It was wonderful.

But in August, like summer, my vacation from being a functioning person will draw to an end. I will start volunteering again and I will join some book clubs. In autumn, I will meet new friends and also reconnect with old ones.

I hope that, with school restarting and work picking up again, our readers will find new opportunities in the community. There are so many wonderful people and groups in our region, I hope you can find new places to make your own. At the same time, I hope you are able to return to familiar places with a renewed sense of awe and appreciation一places where the people and chairs and the atmosphere and the floors and the dishes and the rooms remember you as lovingly and as intimately as you remember them.

Also, as the holiday season begins, I will celebrate things for the first time. Other than Diwali, my family rarely celebrates anything. My friends are mostly Muslim or non-religious and, other than the ambiance, I don’t care much for Christmas.

But this year, my friends and I will create a new holiday for just us friends that we can all celebrate together. So I look forward to creating new traditions with the members of my chosen family as well.

August reminds me that my time of stillness is ending and that I will miss it. It is a month like the penultimate chapter of your favourite book, right before the climax and the happily ever after. Still, I look forward to the after because there is still a lot of magic left in the year.