"In summer the song sings itself."
I always think there's going to be a certain feel to summer, and there is, for certain. but it's never quite the vibe I anticipate.
Before its arrival, I daydream about summer's long, lazy days. I picture a tall, cold glass of lemonade (though I rarely drink lemonade), and see myself lying by the pool (except that I haven't done that for years.) I think about the endless, unscheduled hours, and I happily plan on not planning anything to fill them, other than reading everything I can get my hands on.
Then summer always "arrives" too soon. In mid-to-late May, when I'm still adjusting to the idea and the reality of the school year wrapping up, the world is announcing, "SUMMER!" Schools are dismissing, the library is revving up its summer reading program, vacations are being planned and announced, and people start asking, "How's your summer going?" I startle, and blink, and reply, "I, um, don't know. My summer hasn't started yet. It isn't even June yet. How did this happen?"
Summer, with all its attendant activities, is always busier than I think it will be or should be. And part of me still wants to live in a world that I haven't known for decades (a world that maybe I never knew?) A world that still treats August as part of summer. Every year, in early August, I rail at the world, like a crazy woman: "It's August 9th! Why is school starting? Why are the pools closing? Why aren't the lazy days of summer just now coming into their own? What's wrong with waiting until after Labor Day, huh, huh? Crazy, meddling air-conditioning! You changed everything about summer and school-start-dates!" (But let's be clear ... I would die without air-conditioning. I DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING. That shuts up the crazy woman inside me.)
I always settle down, of course. When my inner crazy lady coils and prepares to strike, I remind myself that there is a certain feel to summer. And I love it. The plans that do fill up the calendar are deliciously voluntary. The night-owl nights are possible because Atticus and I aren't getting up at 5:30 every morning. Math is absent from everyone's life in the summertime, and who could ask for more? Our days unfold with a lovely balance of planning and coasting.
Sure, about this time in July, I realize that summer, as defined by my husband's job, is indeed careening by, that Atticus will go back to work in all-too-short a time (and that my summer chef will be gone!), that my school year with Ramona is just around the corner. I'm reminded that routine will return, and the days will eventually grow shorter, but for now ... it's still summer.
And the song is singing itself.
by William Carlos Williams
faintly ironical smile
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?
(This poem is in the public domain.)
Jone Rush MacCulloch has the Poetry Friday roundup for this week.