Late Summer Musings

Summer is coming to an end. Yeah, we’ve still got a month until the Equinox, but you can feel it in the wind: a cold that reaches more deeply into your bones than a summer breeze should. And you can see it in the light–just a few degrees of a different angle to the sun’s arc across the sky turns it’s shine into something cooler, more crisp during the day, and thicker, like honey, in the evening. The greens of summer are past overripe, taking on their darkest hue before autumn drains the green and sets the foliage ablaze.

It’s a strange time of year for me. I love fall, love the magic of the season, the bounty and beauty. A million ideas come to me at once, for stories and creative projects, personal goals and life maps. It’s a high energy season, but one that has me constantly on the edge, always about to topple. I feel it sometimes in the cold, when my bare feet refuse to give up sandals and tread across cold hardwood floors. I feel it after long car rides and too-early sunsets. Fall is lovely, but when it comes, winter is not far behind. And winter is my point of exhaustion, the long gray days where I sometimes wish I was sick so that I could stay home and do nothing, days where I wish I was a kid again just so I could have someone take care of me, bring me water, stroke my hair, make me laugh even though I’m miserable. It’s the other end of the pendulum, for all the months in spring and summer and fall when I can’t seem to sit still for fear of wasting my life and my time. I don’t want to sit still in winter, either, but it all catches up with me then, every year. Every year I say it will be different–either I will work through it, or I will embrace the dreamtime, or I will just see what happens. But every winter is pretty much the same.

Summer for me has always been a time of rejuvination, of preparation. I harvest the sunlight, store it away in my cellular memory for the long winter (and here, it is long–we can reasonably expect snow from late October to April), try to soak up enough of its penetrating warmth to keep me from freezing up too early. I used to go on long walks every day, when I was unemployed and still in school. I would walk for hours in the blazing sun, sweating and browning and loving every second. I never did get sun burned. I’d bring a backpack full of notebooks and manuscripts, walk across town to whatever park I could find, sit and work for a while, and walk back. I spent days doing that. Weeks. I saw more of my city on foot than I have in a car. I got a lot of work done with that method.

But I don’t get to do that anymore. I work like a real adult, with a real mortgage and a real family. So now it’s the end of summer, and I haven’t gotten my fix. I’ve been busy working 9 and 10 hour days, packing to move into our house, trying to scrape together enough energy and time in the evenings to write, but all too often failing (but still, doing better). So now I find myself realizing how few warm, sunny days we have left, and I want to use my single day of vacation accrued so that I can just lay in the sun for a day and not think about anything. I wonder, even, if this might be something necessary, so that I don’t reach that point of unconsciously making myself sick so that I can take a (real, total) day off.

But more than wanting to hold on to a summer I somehow feel I didn’t have, I want to be ready to embrace the fall. I want to be able to bask in it, to let its magic course through me as it has already begun. I don’t want this resistance, this all-too-Taurean part of me sneaking out because it hasn’t glutted itself on sunshine just yet.

So, I didn’t want this to be a brooding introspective post. I meant to talk about how I’ve been drawing a lot lately (and actually been really proud of it, for a change, even though it’s all with pencil and crayons and bic pens at work), and have a massive desire to learn guitar again, how I’ve been craving the feeling of strings under my hands and music thrumming through my fingertips. Those things are still true. But this is what this time of year does to me. It makes me think long and deep about my life, my patterns, my plans, what I can do to fill my stores before the dark season comes.

And I guess it takes over my blog posts, too.

But even if I took a day off to bask in the sun, I think I’d get antsy. I’d want to write, or practice ukulele, or pack/clean the apartment. Maybe the lesson here, all these years, isn’t that I need to overcome winter or make better use of the other three seasons–maybe the lesson is that I need to be okay with just staying still for a while. Maybe that stillness, contentedness, is what I’m really craving. I feel like I’ve entered a time of my life when that’s hard to find, being constantly wrapped up in beginnings and endings, rarely having a spare moment to adjust to some kind of “normal” before something else begins or ends and turns things on their head again.

But there is never a dull moment, that’s for sure. I guess one of my next projects will have to be to make one.


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