June 20, 2012

summer solstice

Summertime is lemonade stands and watermelon slices, their juice dripping all down your chin. It is anything refreshing, anything to offer a contrast to the sun beating down, the humid air soaking into your skin, reminding you that you are porous and alive. It is Mr. Freeze pops, it is you reaching into the box and taking whatever you get, but hoping so much that it will be blue, or grape, or red, or anything but orange. It is longing for the pool, whether or not you can swim. Summer is the sweating glasses of water or Kool-Aid, anything cold, anything you can drink up fast to regulate your body temperature halfway back to normal. It is lemon-anything, just like iced-anything... it is lighter meals and long, lovely days...
Summer is adjustment. It is lowering your standards from "comfortable" to "as comfortable as you can be." It is a shifting of schedules, a forced siesta in the midday heat, when naps sound good to every age, and especially to those at work. It is dimly-lit afternoons in rooms, in houses, behind blinds closed tightly to keep out the sun. It is fans doing their reverse dance moves to push and pull the air from the house, in the cool of the early morning and late evening. "Old-fashioned air conditioning," that is what they call it.  

Summer is wilting plants in the garden (they feel just like you do, but they can't go inside). 
It is dry, dusty dirt, like powder, coating everything, but you don't even mind, so long as it is not stickyIt is summer fruits - it is cherries, peaches, cantaloupe, and more - refreshing but sticky. Why do they always have to be so stickyIt is lessons in melting: you, me, the ice, my popsicle, the blue wax figurine you got in the machine by the dolphin tank at the zoo and left in the back window of our car. Summer is shorter tempers, it is fuses ready to blow like fireworks, just as it is longer days. The days are so long it seems as if it might be near impossible to be awake for all of the daylight hours. A summer's day seems like it could hold just about anything you could ever imagine. 
Summer is clouds passing rapidly before the sun, like a game of peekaboo, folding hands over the wide, bright eyes of the sun's brilliant glow. Summer is storms rolling in faster than seems possible at any other time of year. It is pressure building in the air, anywhere from hours to days, and then violently choosing its moment to break free and loose itself all around us. It is the only time you want to be in the rain; you stand and welcome a thorough soaking-through. 

Summer is as little clothing as possible: short, loose dresses to offer whatever comfort they can. It is boys of every age in shorts: no shoes, no shirt. Flip flop sandals, such funny, silly shoes: they are barely any shoe at all, though they do help with that matter of the hot sidewalks. Summer is dirty lines on tops of feet where flip flops rub the dirt into your skin. It is brightly-colored clothing and neon shades of nail polish and swimsuits, for better or for worse. Summer is bleached hair and weathered skin that covers over you like a costume made in the image of your most true self: young and tan and glowing, old and weathered and hardened?Summer is beaches you forgot existed, littered with so many bodies you begin to grasp just how many people must live in this city, and yet they are only a drop in the bucket of your comprehension. Summer is sprinklers - bless them! - it is baby pools and slip 'n' slides. It is outdoor festivals full of music and food (though wouldn't we all like them better in Spring or Fall?). It is sunbathing, an art you have never mastered, which is probably for the better. Burn and peel, burn then peel: this is your own art form. It is more freckles than you ever knew you had. Summer is sparklers in your fists, waving like wands as you proudly spell your name in the air. It is grand, impressive fireworks displays, seen and heard, but always from afar. Summer is everyone out on their porches, where they play more music than you could ever possibly hear all at once.

(For this themed post, I decided to set the scene for myself as I wrote: I sat outside in the heat of the day, in the full sun, with summer indulgences prepared to cool me off as I wrote. I cut up some watermelon - it was absolutely delicious!! - and made a pitcher of Cucumber-Mint Lemonade, which is one of my favorites, originally inspired by this post on the fabulous "A Beautiful Mess" blog! I hope you can cherish and nurture some of your own Summer moments to celebrate its official start!)

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