Indian Summer

A sonnet for the one with whom I’ve run the years.

The sun’s heat on my arms lands just when fall’s
Breeze blows it away, like summer’s spent leaves;
What is left of the spring, mockingbird calls,
Holds on to summer though the end it perceives.
We sit in shade. You knit (setting in sleeves)
Too warm in the sun, still fall’s overtaking.
Moving again too cool under the eaves
I see you at twenty your future betaking.

Time’s run us far, the days and years breaking
Our bodies bely the youth that is there
This side our solstice, sorrow and aching
Turns slow into sweetness, plain into fair.
Beauty has not faded, but grows more deeper and bright
More precious and clear as Indian Summer’s light.

© Randy Edwards 2016
Photo: Catherine Edwards

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Since the early 1990s, the share of out-of-wedlock, cohabiting births has grown from 11 percent to 24 percent, while those to noncohabiting, single mothers has remained steady at 16 percent.

Sometimes referred to as the “poor person’s marriage,” cohabitation is growing fastest among high school graduates with children. Between the 1997-2001 and 2002-2009 periods, it grew from 23 percent to 32 percent, according to Sheela Kennedy, a researcher at the University of Minnesota. For mothers with some college attendance, it grew from 15 percent to 23 percent during that period. Among those with four-year college degrees, the share has changed from 3 percent to 5 percent.

Daniel Lichter, a Cornell sociologist and past president of the Population Association of America, said the government needs to do more to reflect increasing cohabitation in statistics. Cohabitation status is not on birth certificates, and that can skew policy debates over the government safety net for poor households. It also means a growing trend of fragile families in which cohabitating parents may be more likely to break up can be neglected, he said.

The “poor person’s marriage” connects with an earlier excerpt here in which it is not “marriage” as an institution but rather the expense of a wedding that seems to inhibit marriage. The manner in which the law treats the partners, parents, and children of cohabiting couples and defines their rights may reawaken what society values in the institution of marriage and why the government has an interest in defining it.

Quote

“I want to marry when I’m ready, not because I’m being forced into it. Whenever I see couples do that, things don’t work out,” said Amanda Leigh Pulte, 22, of Austin, Texas, as her 11-month-old daughter Zoey cooed in her arms. Pulte previously had delayed moving in with Matthew Gage, a 29-year-old shipping manager and her boyfriend for three years, wishing to wait until she could earn a bachelor’s degree in film and start a full-time job.

An unplanned pregnancy quickly changed that. Completing an associate degree, she agreed to have Gage move in so the couple could work and save on rent while raising Zoey together. Even though they didn’t see marriage as a serious option for now – in part to avoid the additional stress of planning and paying for a wedding, she says – neither was having Pulte live on her own as a single mother.

“in part to avoid the additional stress of planning and pay for a wedding.” I wonder if what is being confronted in the delay of marriage is not so much a reaction against marriage as it is a reaction against the performance pressure of a wedding. The entire article is here.