The fellow on the radio is bumming me out. It is the second of September, the last official day of summer, and the radio personality is comparing September to death. While Ben is sprawled out on the air mattress, I’m happily typing away, researching. Though we have plans to barbeque, and went out for a lovely bike ride before enjoying a quiet afternoon, the CBC 2 is working overtime, making me want to squeeze the damp dishcloth of summertime and wring out every last drop. It is reminding me that time is fleeing, that summer, youth, life is dwindling second by second, and soon it will slip through my fingers. How do you want to spend your last summer day?
Ben and I are thinking about how to spend the afternoon. It’s very much a childish…”What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”. Seize the day, I guess.
Yup, that’s what I’ve got to do…carpe diem, and whatnot. Load up the car with beach chairs, refreshments, a few towels, a Frisbee , your portable radio, and head to the water. Take back the power from old man winter, who’s now waiting in the wings. Come on gang, beach party in ten minutes!
Ben is napping, which is for the best. When he is exhausted, he becomes something somewhere in the middle of a Kodiak Bear and an over-tired toddler at Disneyland. It’s not pretty. I just wish he could do it on the beach, near the ocean, he could snore lightly in the dimming sunlight, and I could watch the sea water heaving back and forth, breathing loud sighs of salt water.
I don’t know why I suddenly feel so sad. Perhaps it’s because this nostalgic a-hole is playing the most melancholic number, “September Song“, performed by Willie Nelson. It’s songs like that that makes leaves fall.
What’s so great about summer anyway? It’s a blonde season. It’s romantic, it’s youthful, the nights are long and hot. Music festivals and bare feet. Windows rolled down and the open road. Naked moonlight dips in black glimmering water.
Summer time = good times. Frolicking, swimming, holidays, road trips, adventures and fun…
Summer means sexy flings, that are often as sweaty and maddening as an August heat wave. (I love this couple, “I’m glad she likes my giant muscles, because my penis is teeny-tiny“)
Summer is spending time with fabulous friends, and that usually involves cool drinks, and that wonderful ‘ice cube in glass’ sound that chimes in the background of lazy conversation.
Summertime is barbeques, ice cream cones, cold apple cider, and all sorts of beach front food fare…
Then again, it’s not my favorite season. I dig the crispness of fall, the freshness of spring. I like the colors, the spices, the sweaters. Summer fashion is not my favorite. I’m not one for gallivanting poolside in my two-piece. I’m not really into excessive male shirtlessness and bikini tops in the grocery store. I believe that short denim shorts are a privilege, not a right. For me, I do love to dress for an occasion. How often do you get you rock a caftan? Light layers. Tell that to all the shirtless dudes out there…it can be done. Whenever possible I like to emphasize the slip and slap, of the “slip/slop/slap” trilogy of Australian sun protection.
When my sister-in-law came for a visit from New Zealand, we had arranged to spend an afternoon floating down the river, a pretty standard summertime activity in this region. I asked the night before about what she was wearing. She glimpsed at me strangely, “I don’t know…a bathing suit?” As for me, I wore a man sized white collared shirt, black and yellow scarf, and a white brimmed hat with a black band, and enormous sunnies of course. I looked like an aquatic Diane Keaton, a scuba Annie Hall.
About an hour into the three hour float, Kate was feeling extremely exposed as the floating device drifted down the river. No hat, no shirt, just a bikini and a light white scarf. As were the other girls on the float, my friend Margaret and her two friends were in swim suits. But they had the means to roll on different sides. We were in tubes which kept you in quite stationary , and to try to exit would be graceless at best. I offered Kate my pashmina, which she used in conjunction with her scarf. I felt terrible that maybe I hadn’t pressed the point that she might like to keep the top she pulled off at the last minute. I wished I had an extra scarf. I worried whether losing the pashmina took my floating ensemble from a solid A+ to a plain ole B. If so, that’s going to be a real problem for me.
Later in the evening, I apologized for leaving her unprepared. She just laughed. “Honestly, it didn’t occur to me that it was for sun protection. I just thought that you were ashamed of your body or something”. True, I am not beach ready in the way swimsuit models are, but that’s not really the issue.
I just like the layers, it’s comforting. As a rule, fall suits me just fine. When the normally soothing voice on the radio actually utters the phrase “Speaking of death…” in reference to the last day of summer, it fills me with a sense of loss. I try to entice Ben out to the beach, to a lake, an afternoon drive, but his energy level matches mine. “Isn’t it nice to be at home?” he says. And I let go of wishing summer would stay and that time would stand still. Instead I I wrap myself in the idea of another season passing away.