Longing for a summer lost


Summer-time is over; Labor Day, the Rib Cook-Off and Burning Man have ended and school has started.  This has never been my favorite time of year, when I was a child I spent summers at my grandfather’s house.  I was free from morning until dark, free and barefoot – my Tom Sawyer days. All summer I lived inside my own imagination, alone or with my friends I created whole new worlds, fought wars and on Saturday entered the magic, dark world of film   When September came, I had to wear shoes, go to strange schools filled with aliens and live in a world created by others.  My summer-world was filled with limitless barefoot-freedom and imagination, but it was also filled with certainty, love and trust; my grandfather’s world stayed the same as long as he lived, it was comfortable and trust-able world for me.  I never wanted summer-time to end, ever.  I returned to live with my mother every year in a new town and new school; in that world nothing was certain, comfortable or trust-able, except my mother.

Even decades later, I never wanted summer-time to end.  I love spring for its hope and promise and because it gives us summer.  Summer is the time to fulfill spring’s promise.   Fall, is the opposite of spring to me, it contains not promise, but the threat of winter.  Spring is a time of excitement and hope, each day a little longer, a little warmer and each contains a little more promise than the last.  Fall is when the cycle of longer days begins to reverse, every day gets a little shorter, a little cooler and each contains a little less promise than the last.   As a child, as much as wanted summer to continue forever, I cannot remember trying to stop it from ending.  But by the time I was 30-ish, I had begun to cling to the days, trying to hold back the progress of time.

My clinging starts in September; each day I grasp at the day, the warmth and my time in the sun, wanting to hold it in my arms and keep it alive.  I have not found a way to stop the advance of time, but I have not given up trying.  Today on my walk, I bathed in the magnificence of the day – I put my arms out to hold it and pull it close to my chest.  Until I close my eyes tonight, I will still be thinking about how glorious the sun and its warmth are, fighting to keep today and the last glimpse of summer alive.  Regardless of my efforts or wishes, each day will still get shorter and cooler  – until one day it will be dark at 5 p. m. and the temperature will struggle to get above freezing.   There is no excitement in the dark of winter and for me there is no hope.   At least, not spring-time hope; and there is no joy, not summer-time joy. Fall is between winter and summer, a time of nostalgia and longing.

It is common to use the seasons as a metaphor for human life, but it did not always resonate with me.  When I was younger spring and summer seemed to be permanent.  Even in the midst of December I lived in the spring or summer times of life – life then was filled with hope, promise and excitement.  However, I am no longer young and I no longer live in either spring or summer, instead I have entered September.  The days are going to get much shorter and much cooler; the excitement, hope and joy of those seasons are fading.   I am nostalgic and longing for my summers lost.   Oh sure, I know there is lots of living left to do, but will I ever again wake up thinking I could invent something no one else had done, travel to unknown places, create original works of art, change the world and live forever?  No I will not wake up believing those things.  I wake up every morning glad to be alive and ready to embrace my day and take from it whatever it has to offer, but everything I do or think now is shaped by my experience.

September is a wonderful month, soft warm days and nights, ever-changing colors everywhere – it is beautiful.  But it has always been the end of summer-time, barefoot time, imaginary, freedom time for me.   I have never liked putting on shoes for the winter, going to work and school.  I don’t like giving up the imaginary world of my summer-time.  And so, at this time of year I desperately try to hold onto each day as long as I can; I want to stop that minute of daylight that slips away from us each day for slipping away.  I long for the lost days of summer.

 

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1 Response to “Longing for a summer lost”


  1. 1 rexdstock1 September 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Beautiful… Nice work. A true labor of love…

    ________________________________


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