Saturday, August 04, 2007

What is summer?

I remember it vaguely. I remember lying in the cooling grass to combat the heat. I remember pavement so hot you could fry the proverbial egg. And tomatoes on the vine. And sunburn.

The latest issue of POETRY is filled with what could be called, if not light verse, at least summertime poems. All the newspaper and online columnists long ago published their recommendations for summer reading.

Some people, in the face of summertime indolence, seem to hardly have energy for reading. At least that seems to be the gist of the piece I heard by Andrei Codrescu on All Things Considered the other day. He seemed to put down people who were too busy to experience the slow, lazy days of summer.

Well, we haven't been avoiding summer, but it's been avoiding us. Now that our Big Event is over and the deck (hah!) is built, we're busy paying for all that. Driving to work daily has actually been our only chance to see, if not experience, what other people call summer -- or at least sun. High up on a hill in San Francisco's Ingleside neighborhood, days go by without the sun coming out -- or with it coming out just long enough to set in splendor into the ocean. So yeah, in my brief walk from car to office at Moffett Field I can smell the star jasmine. And when John takes a break from his San Rafael studio to take the dog out, he can watch her kick up her heels in the nearby grassy lawns. That's been our summer.

We may have a barbecue on the deck this Sunday. That will mean turning on the patio heater we bought for it. But that's not real summer. That's not lying in the hammock under the sugar pines, smelling the dust.

So what? S'okay. We'll live. We're actually going to take a vacation in a little bit, in September -- probably miss a good part of the sunny weather here -- and visit John's family in Ireland. Life isn't bad, just busy. And I do miss summer.

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