Summer, Summer, Glorious Summer

High hot days and cool windy nights. Twilights that never end. Bats zig-zagging in the dusk, feasting on flying termites. Blueberries. Huckleberries. Blackberries, still warm from the sun. One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me. Fingers stained a permanent purple.

Sticking your head into a dinner-plate-sized rose and breathing in the pear scent. Crunching toes in dry grass. Listening to the bumblebees lumber from salvia, hyssop, lavender, collecting bright yellow pollen on fat black legs.

Sitting on the edge of a mountain-fed river, strong and tired and hungry from swimming. Hot rocks warming wet swimsuit, the sun dry on your back. Listening to nothing but the water catch and fall on rock. Remembering this warm summer moment for the winter ahead, storing it as an insect for the dark months to come.

Mint picked and pressed into lemonade. Five o’clock and the smell of charcoal filling a neighborhood. No reason, no reason at all to go inside and go to bed. There is no work, there is no tomorrow. There is only summer.

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Summer Slipping

Last Friday, I took the ferry back from Bainbridge and watched a red sun slip behind the Olympic range. A perfect moment in a shamefully beautiful corner of the world — but something was amiss. I turned to a friend and asked, “What time is it?”

She looked at her phone. “7:45. Too early for the sun to be going down.”

Bainbridge_Sunset

Quickening days are the first indicator of what’s to come. I love fall, don’t get me wrong — turning leaves and snuggly sweaters and low light cutting through crisp air. It’s a season of unwinding, preparing for dormancy. After the go-go-go of summer, fall is a much-needed letdown.

But I’m not ready for dormancy. Somehow when I had my back turned, summer slipped away.

The hammock colony stares at us from the backyard, neglected, colorful cocoons swaying with no occupants. House projects remain only grand ambitions. The local lake taunts from a distance, unvisited. Edits to my book — oh man, remember how I was going to have that done by July 1? HAHAHAH.

When I look back over the summer, the only thing I can remember doing? Work. Work consumed all, bored into every facet of my brain, and while I wasn’t paying attention, summer ticked on.

I know, objectively, that that’s not true — I did things other than work. I spent time with friends and family. I took a beach trip, got some fly fishing in. Why, next week we even get to go on a vacation — a final “hoorah” to end the season.

But I swear when I woke up yesterday, it was June. Last night I wrapped up in my heavy sweatpants and hoodie. This morning when I got up for my morning run, 5:45 had gone dark. I blinked and three months disappeared. That’s the long con of time, isn’t it? It tricks you into thinking it’s infinite, but as you get older, you stop paying attention for just one second and half a year is gone.