Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do you know where the summer goes?

I often find myself longing for summer.....for camping and dancing around the fire and roasting things that sizzle and brown at the edges. For singing and hiking and swimming. The days lengthen and lengthen and you spin in fireworks and climb trees at midnight and pick wild blackberries along the path at dawn and finally leap headlong into the cool, green river for the last time before the sun goes down. Then where does it go? Where does the summer go? This slipping away feeling is captured brilliantly in these photographs by Ryan McGinley -- "I know Where the Summer Goes."

Fireworks Hysteric (below) was featured recently in the New Yorker as an illustration for Italo Calvino's brilliant & luminous short story: "The Daughters of the Moon."

The moon was above us, a convex shape almost crushing us, a ruined roof, studded with holes like a cheese grater. Just at that moment, the animals in the zoo began to growl.

"Is this the end?" I asked mechanically, and I myself didn't even know what I meant.

She replied, "It's the beginning, or something like that. (She spoke almost without opening her lips.)"

"What do you mean? It's the beginning of the end, or something else is beginning?"


Long ago I had an "end of summer" place. It was a helicopter landing area in the woods near a ranger station. The "helispot" was just a flat-topped grassy mound in a clearing used for bringing in supplies for a large Forest Service tree nursery. It was a sweet, safe place to go to alone and stargaze, imagine and dream. The air smelled like cut grass and fir needles, like leather boots and embers and warm, young skin. The restless east wind of late summer blew hot late into the night. "Time to go," the Chinook seemed to scream. "Back to the books, time to go inside, sit in a chair, use your head." But I resisted and wandered there often, stretching the summer out as long as possible, making wishes until the sky turned from midnight to a trillion shades of black to pink.


Jeremy Edwards said...

Summer is emotionally invigorating to me—even if I'm indoors, even if I'm working. The atmosphere just seems full of vacation molecules.

Kirsten Monroe said...

Dontya love it when you wake up in the morning and the air is just the right temperature already? No warm-up necessary! Yum. I would like to see a vacation molecule under one of those high-powered microscopes.