The Very Top of Summer

A flash of heat lightning. The smell of freshly cut grass. The insistent hum of cicadas. The sights, sounds, and smells of summer are at their peak in August.

As author Natalie Babbit writes in her classic children’s novel, Tuck Everlasting:

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel, when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless and hot.”

The Italian Baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi, captures the languor of August perfectly in his violin concerto, Summer:

On this first Friday evening of August, I hope the Lord fills you with the peace and tranquility that only He can bring.

Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor for

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you Alisa for this beautiful word picture and I do love Vivaldi. I can feel the “motionless and hot” at the top of the ferris wheel. Here is my little contribution to August on a quiet summer evening:

A shaded lamp and a waving blind,
And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:
On this scene enter–winged, horned, and spined -
A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;
While 'mid my page there idly stands
A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands . . .


Thus meet we five, in this still place,
At this point of time, at this point in space.

  • My guests parade my new-penned ink,
    Or bang at the lamp-glass, whirl, and sink.
    “God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why?
    They know Earth-secrets that know not I.
    An August Midnight
    Thomas Hardy

this really is an outstanding video…i just love all the images of the busy bees in the flowers…and of course anything from vivaldi’s four seasons is a treat…the spring concerto is probably the most popular here in the calgary area - one of my younger students just won alberta provincials with the spring concerto as part of his entry - but none of these concertos can be performed too much…this is an exquisite interpretation of the summer concerto by julia fischer, with the help of a very good string ensemble…


Here it is winter. But even that is beautiful. The fungi season is over. The days are increasing in length. And the kowhai has already flowered, bringing Tui into the garden.


Why has Vivaldi’s music prevailed for so long? Antonio Vivaldi wrote more than 500 concertos and this is one of my favorites.
The video is so helpful in appreciating the nuances of Vivaldi’s music. The ups and downs, sideways and detours, of this music are extraordinary! There are a lot of iconic classical pieces and a lot of attempts to modernize them but I can’t think of another work that has inspired me in so many journeys. This is great music to walk and or jog with, or just to take a break and pause for a while. Perhaps it’s because I love the music of Vivaldi so much that I find it easy to listen to. THANKS!


Through music one can “see” and “feel” many things: movement in a joyous form, delicate and sensitive in its approach. Altogether lovely…

I’d like more information about Julia Fischer.

And was the performance filmed in the (now demolished) Gentry Gym? It’s a beautiful location, anyway. And a beautiful performance.