Thursday, August 11, 2011

God Bless the Indian Summer.

I'm sorry to do this to you, two posts in a row but I can't help myself these days.

This summer. It is feeling distinctly summer. It is feeling distinctly a period of time all its own. It is feeling distinctly... temporary.

What is it that was the appeal all those years ago when we were little kids who craved summertime. I know it wasn't just the lack of school. Because I tell you that I loved school. I never faked sick unless it was gymnastics week in gym class. But there was something about the summer time that pulled an active, adventurous girl out of the natural homebody in me. Probably even until the other girls were doing--whatever girls do after they're done digging in the dirt, I was still scrubbing at the grass stains on my hands. Not athletic in the least, I would nevertheless ride my bike all over town and around the outskirts making bets against myself how fast I could go and for how long. Then we got the internet and the whole world changed but before that happened summertime was a very tactile time.

Hot, sweaty days, licking frozen cream from the cone before it's all puddled on the sidewalk. Sharp skinned knees and diving into frigid swimming pools. Now the swimming pools aren't even swimming pools. They're "water parks". The diving board is a minor thought, pushed into an alcove in the corner. When I was little, the diving board was the highlight. We'd stare at the big kids and hope that someone would panic and do a belly flop. Sometimes that happened. Usually it was all cannonballs. I don't know who took the position of Namer of Childhood Diving Techniques but I think they grew up to nickname cocktails.

The summertime of youth was about sensations. Feeling hot and cold and pain and relief and soft dirt underneath your bare feet. Somewhere in the ruts to adulthood, summer becomes just another block of time that you differentiate from the others by means of heat index.

Tonight I walked to (did not drive) the library and browsed and found things that I absolutely had to bring home with me. They let me keep the best things on my word alone that I'll return them lest I face a $.30 fine. The library is the most beautiful thing to exist in a civilized world. I took my findings to the coffee shop where I got a french soda and then carried my treasures to a bench that sat across from a design/ print shop that had closed up shop about an hour and a half prior. In the space above, my friends were playing music. Katie and Kristin and Justin came and sat with me for a little bit until hunger drove them to other places. But for the little bit I sat there smelling Justin's man-who-just-took-a-shower scent and feeling him press his shoulder into mine, just being a tactile presence was developing reminiscence in me. Feeling--touching, being together felt so Summertime. So much so that I didn't want to mention it and risk it run away upon hearing itself spoken of. Like a shy kid or a dream. So you relish in it and you accept it and you don't make it stay any longer than it needs to or it's not the same. So my friends left, and I tried to leave too but I didn't actually want to. I sat on another bench and read until the sun went down and the streetlights came on.

And I sat on the bench and I read my book and I listened to the starting and stopping of songs. I could hear it but I wasn't paying ultra close attention until something struck me as truly a magnificent bit. Then I just sat there, impressed and thinking things like, "I didn't know he played the trumpet." I felt the cool breeze through my shirt and I shivered when the condensation from my soda rolled down my leg and it felt like summertime. It felt like the summertime that teenagers had in books that I read. Things that I couldn't relate to, then. Ten years too late I'm experiencing the joys (and the heartaches and the abundance and the decidedly trivial matters but all safely and undoubtedly under the umbrella of the word "joy") of youth. Walking together until you can't walk anymore. Drinking until you can't imagine another sip. Kissing until you're exhausted. Laughing until your belly hurts. Feeling happy and heartbroken and truly filled all in the same moment so much so there's no containing it and it spills out of your eyes.

Youth really is wasted on the young. Do they even know what they have when they've got it?

And you don't try to make it last any longer than it's supposed to because it knows when it's being forced. Let it be what it is when it is. There's always an Indian Summer in early October anyway.

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