Summer 2020

I may have mentioned in these pages that I’m not very fond of summer.  As my least favourite season, I’ve even been known to complain about it.  Plus, every year around Labour Day, I jump the gun and start singing the praises of autumn.  And – well – this year isn’t going to be any different, except … I have a confession to make.  The summer of 2020 hasn’t been all that bad.  That’s right, the worst summer this planet has seen since Marvin the Mongolian brought his pet rats to Genoa in 1347, was actually not as godawful as originally advertised.  Hold it!  Before you start gathering the torches and pitchforks, hear me out!  Here are a few reasons why, even though the Summer 2020 isn’t anything I ever want to do again, it was certainly better than expected.

We’re learning social distancing

1 – People kept their clothes on.  Normally, summers are awash with untethered flesh, wiggling and jiggling and … “Oh, God! My Eyes!”  I don’t know what happened, but somehow a lot of us started channeling our inner dignity.   

2 – We discovered what the word “brave” really means, and it’s got nothing to do with some celebrity playing victim on Twitter for twenty minutes.

3 – And speaking of celebrities, wasn’t it cool when they all shut up and went home?

4 – There were more regular people on the streets — walking, running, riding their bikes — and even though they kept their distance, they were friendly.  Neighbours waved to each other, asked how things were going and called each other by their first names.  (I didn’t even know the guy down the street had a name.)

5 – There was, on occasion, quiet.  The parks and beaches and backyards weren’t constantly haunch to paunch with obnoxious crowds of loudmouths, cremating their meat to the 4,000 decimal beat of a heart/lung machine that somebody once mistakenly called “music.”

6 – It didn’t feel quite so hot without those penis envy motorcycles roaring through the afternoon like recently castrated lions.

7 – Zoom

8 – Professional sports didn’t show up until later, so we didn’t have to endure an endless, meaningless, boring parade of nobody-cares-who-wins baseball games.

9 – We all began finding out how much junk we’ve accumulated over the years, and not just useless household junk — emotional junk, lifestyle junk, ideas junk, even people junk.  Last spring our world got ambushed and a bunch of stuff changed, so most of us have spent the summer — consciously or unconsciously — reassessing what’s important in our lives and what’s just junk.

And because of that:

10 – Even though it might not feel good right now, the best thing to happen this summer is a lot of people started thinking about, talking about and trying to do something about things that actually matter.

Seasons

seasons

Congratulations, folks! We’ve made it through the summer, and it’s autumn again.  Where does the time go?  Over the years, I’ve given summer a pretty bad rap, and even though it clearly deserved it, I should apologize.  Sorry, summer — you hot, sweaty mess!  Actually, I shouldn’t be so hard on summer.  It’s just one of the seasons and, as they say, “To every season/there is a reason.”  Vivaldi knew this and wrote some cool music to demonstrate it.  So, even though I’m no Vivaldi, here’s my take on the four seasons.

Winter is for the mind.

Winter is thick books and old libraries; dusty, hard-to-find bookstores cluttered with forgotten, twice-told stories.  It’s big socks, ankle-bunched and comfortable.  It’s long, dark hours and hot tea, quilted with spice.  It’s pages of adventure that sip like cups of soup, hand-warm and held close to your face.  It’s cozy against the lonely cold scratching at the windows and crowded with imagination.

Spring is for the spirit.

Spring is splashy rain and wide, warm mornings; flocks of shepherdless clouds, grazing the sky.  It’s busy-bird busy, darting on the breeze, beaks full of new-nest enthusiasm.  It’s turned dirt, moist with tender green promises … that there will be flowers.  It’s trees awake with tiny, inexperienced fingers, first fluttered in the singing afternoon.  It’s bare arms and short skirts and sly, secret smiles that catch your eye like jewelry.

Summer is for the body.

Summer is painted bright toenails and young girls, lithe as deer, dancing in the sand.  It’s sun-hot games, smooth with muscles.  It’s music, laugh -loud and twisting.  It’s fresh-cut grass and scented gardens and spray cool water.  It’s tickle and giggle and chasing with excitement.  It’s coloured drinks that drip, and honey-coated skies and jokes and teases and everyone talking at once.

Autumn is for the soul.

Autumn is scarves and gloves and hair, finger-combed and tangled.  It’s crisp crumbled leaves cremated on the wind and scattered.  It’s walking in the low, grey afternoon, coat buttoned and no place to go.  It’s a park bench, forgotten in the bony trees that whisper the words of a poem you can’t quite remember.  It’s a love song that no longer makes you cry.  It’s old friends and long ago’s and all the things we forfeit to time.  It’s a pause at the window while the world walks by.

Summer Solstice

summer solstice

A bunch of folks, in England, celebrating my birthday!