The first warm days of May set me thinking about the promise of summer. The season gets shorter as I age and each year my sense of urgency grows. I plan small adventures, vowing that this summer will be unforgettable, this summer I will feel like a child again. I look for quiet magic: Shakespeare in the park, concerts at the zoo, swims in the lake, picnics at Shilshole. Once the gloom of June has passed, Seattle sparkles blue and green, wrapping an easy warmth around long, bright days. From the summer’s true arrival in the Pacific Northwest in early July well into golden October, there are few lovelier places.
I never live up to my own expectations of summer. What becomes of those simple hopes, those picnics, concerts, Sundays at the market? What exactly did I do with my weeks that I have so few of them left and only a fog of memory behind me?
This year summer had an agenda that diverged so far from mine, we may as well have been in different hemispheres. I wake in mid-season, wishing I could press rewind on the remote control – not wanting to replay the weeks I’d lost, but to erase them and begin again, to insert a new story into the machine.
For seven weeks I’ve bled. From miscarriage to surgery to the first menstrual cycle since April, I live with a daily reminder of my helplessness over my body. A small fortune spent in the feminine hygiene aisle. A flood of hormones that sets my edge on edge, never certain what might set off the tears or the rage.
But now I emerge from the haze of heartbreak into the blue summer that is as soft as a worn pair of Levis. I tally the hurts, but also the triumphs. Days after my loss, I turned my heart to the page, filling the hollow space with words and finding joy in the act of creating characters and watching as their lives unfold on the page or screen before me. I may not have had the emotional energy to prepare those picnics or plan for those concerts, but I’ve made certain that every day I turn my face to the sun and move my limbs in the breeze. My running has never been stronger, my freestyle stroke never more fierce. Yes, I’ve retreated – it’s my nature to pull away when I most need the comfort of others – but with a few deep breaths I’m able to reach out until it no longer feels like a chore.
And now it is August. The days of waking in the wee hours to the first dove-gray light of dawn have ended. I rise to the blue-black that will darken my early mornings until April. The afternoons are hot, but the brilliance has dimmed – our small section of Earth is tired from weeks without rain. The trees billow, but their bright leaves have faded to sun-baked green mottled with brown.
My favorite season is before me: Autumn, a time of renewal, when my energy rebounds in the cooling air. But the sky won’t deepen to Grecian blue or glow with a Tuscan aura for a few weeks, yet. The evenings aren’t ready to yield their velvety warmth to the freshness that heralds the season’s change. Summer is resting, languid. The ice cubes in her sun tea have melted, the lemon wedge is limp, but she still tastes sweet. Let her stay, linger, for a while. I’m not quite finished – there is a little girl who wants to come outside to play.
These Are The Days ~ Van Morrison
These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future
There’s only here, there’s only nowThese are days of the endless dancing and the
Long walks on the summer night
These are the days of the true romancing
When I’m holding you oh, so tightThese are the days now that we must savourAnd we must enjoy as we canThese are the days that will last foreverYou’ve got to hold them in your heart.These Are The Days lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group