Monday, August 27, 2007
Bye-Bye, Summer of Love...
It's back-to-school time, and, like millions of students across the country, I'm sad. Not just because last Saturday night, my darling oldest daughter departed for school across the breadth of our country,an "out of towner" living for her third year in midtown Manhattan. My second daughter is poised to move into her sorority this week-end, and my son began his school year today with the discovery that a new student in his school shares much of his background.
For each of my children, as the others who contemplate the new school year with a mix of anticipation, curiosity and dread, there's the upside of that exciting first week, when tough assignments aren't yet due and exploring new classrooms, meeting new teachers, and collecting this year's school supplies--those newly-sharpened pencils, fresh binders, crisp-bound textbooks--allows them the hope of possibility, the clean-slate start toward success.
For me, left behind, there's the departure of summer.
Summer has always been my favorite season, largely because I'm a sunshine girl. The feel of that warmth on my skin is indescribably delightful, and brings joy to my soul while gilding my face and boosting that healthy vitamin D. I know the dangers of those nasty rays, and I've heard the warnings of hastened wrinkles (that I suppose I ought to heed at this point) but the very essence of summer, which permeates my very body through that caressing sunshine, is complete happiness and satisfaction with life.
Nature shares my ecstasy in the summertime. Dawn comes early and bright, pouring yellow magic through my window. There's a reason why all those furniture ads show rooms with morning rays entering--that sunshine conveys leisurely moments together with loved ones at home; happy Sunday pancake breakfasts, reading the newspaper, lingering over coffee and laughter without the rush to depart. Summer sunshine is not just bright with possibility, but it's lush and golden, and we on the west coast needn't dread humidity or stifling temperatures, but merely the sauntering sunshine through hours of options for reward. The trees are heavy with intense green leaves, and in the long hours seem to grow more verdant and more full as we watch. Vegetables blossom and grow into succulent prizes to harvest and enjoy. Summer fruit, the juicy peaches and drippy-sweet plums, are the bounty only a season of plenty can produce.
And the nights, that begin late and seem ever-early, are warm enough to stay barefoot, and sleep light and free. Friends are more easy, life is less intense, and best of all is having everyone home, a family complete and safe and relaxed.
I'd made some colorful signs, one of my habits, to celebrate that we were together. One of them welcomed my daughter to "the summer of love," a reference to forty years ago, the infamous 1967 summer, two years before Woodstock, but already deep into the liberation mentality. Another sign touted my happiness that our family was united. A third simply cheered each of my children as integral to our summery atmosphere.
So, here's to flip-flops. Here's to t-shirts and sleeping late and lying in the sunshine. To vacations and swimming in the lake and hanging wet towels on a clothesline to dry. To not wearing makeup, and walking on a trail dappled with sunshine. I hope your summer was as wonderful as mine was. And maybe, with a little luck, that luxious warmth can last a few more days...