Summertime. The living is one big long slog through art fairs, music festivals, family reunions and impromptu gatherings on the deck. It’s farmers markets and fish fries. Fireworks, that I love, and pool parties, that I refuse to attend because someone always wants to know why I’m not wearing a bathing suit (as if my hips don’t speak for themselves.)
Summer. The excitement builds with the release of the season’s first Top 10 Beach Read lists and gathers steam, exploding with Labor Day parades and back-to-school shopping.
But I no longer read on the beach, because I’m not on the beach. I’m huddled under an umbrella by the pool, wearing a big flopping hat and SPF 75, if I have to go outside at all. It’s cleaner there. Not as hot. That sand. It gets into everything. And bugs. Ick. Give me concrete, chemicals and easy access to a restroom. Then leave me alone until fall, when the wind shifts and the days cloud over.
Save me from the endless sunshine. Save me from the squeals of children excited to roam free until school starts again. Is that negative? I don’t care. I’m hot and sweaty. The last time I exercised was that one day in June when the temperature dipped below 65. I’m already a walking menopausal furnace. In theory, that should be burning calories, but obviously not the one’s around my waistline. I’m not looking to add extra fuel to my internal fire.
Summer used to be fun. I remember. That’s one of those cruel tricks of aging. In my mind, I’m stretched out in a beach towel, my stomach child-bearing flat. Lazy days sitting on the porch swing, reading one of those Top 10 Beach Reads. And at night? It’s like a dream. Weaving through late night traffic on the back of a boy’s motorcycle. Sitting on the edge of the lake, slapping at bugs, watching the water pull the pebble beach further away, rolling down toward the water.
Those summers. The one’s with little to do and no where to go. No Little League games. No ice cream socials. No chaperoning Vacation Bible School. No gardens to weed or flowers to water.
Give me that, those unscheduled days. One’s where the social calendar included blank spaces. Time when I can crack open a book and forget the heat. And the bugs. The ticking clock. Give me some of the excessive quiet of winter now, when I need it most.
Because once summer ends, I will mourn it like a miss opportunity. I’ll want it back like that one lost love, the one who just needed to believe. It all ends so fast. Let me slow down. Savor what I have. Before it’s gone. Before the snow falls.
Criss Roberts blogs irregularly at crissroberts.blogspot.com.