Summer = Love (A Clumsy Analogy)

sunset, Kitsilano Beach, ocean,  Vancouver, sun rays

So. Summer is a crazy, whirling fireball version of reality, where whatever typical activities you do that haven’t been put on hold for a couple of months are tinged with just enough of a sunburnt hue that they don’t seem so typical, and everything else disappears into the bright white heat of midday so that it’s easy to forget that this IS reality, this is the place you have been all year, just changed, somehow, for a short time. It’s like suddenly, momentarily falling in love with someone who has always been just a friend.

Everything is easier in the summer; whenever I have to get out of bed, the sun has gotten up first. I don’t worry about what to wear -a dress will take me anywhere, and bathing suits can go under pretty much anything. I live in a single pair of flip flops -my shoe rack falls to neglect, like an island of misfit toys. I don’t bother with makeup, and allow my hair to do its own, beach-inspired thing. I don’t have to prepare to go outside, like I do in the winter (Gore-tex or down or both? Rain boots or leather boots or can I get away with flats? Do I wear a toque on that date, and hope my hair isn’t clinging to the sides of my head when I take it off, or just sacrifice my earlobes to the frost?).

Summer is familiar and forgiving, so I don’t have to amplify or prettify or enhance myself. I get to just be in my skin, warm and comfortable and suntanned, enjoying the light breeze and the lick of heat. Being happy is not an effort when the very climate seems to insist on it.

Everything moves quickly, in slow motion, so that the Sunday afternoon I spent napping on the beach seems to last forever, but suddenly it’s the following Thursday and I’m not sure what I’ve done with the time in between. My stomach sends butterflies to my throat, and the rest of everything feels calm like dawn lakes, and all the plans I made in the spring, before I remembered the tazmanian-devil-eye-of-the-storm that summer really is, become silly and faded: a poem written in crayon on coloured paper and taped to the window. The sun bleaches everything past.

What matters now, that summer has arrived in all its too-hot, just-right, burnt-pine-and-cicadas fever, is to live it. Revel in it, soak it up. Just be alive, and feel what that means. Summer is short. It doesn’t last any longer than love.

The thing that makes summer’s leaving bearable is that it’s so easy to forget. Exactly how it wraps itself around you like a warm blanket, exactly how perfect each sunset actually is, gets lost in shorter days and sharper winds, and thinking, “What a lovely autumn,” and, “November won’t last that long.” And we get through the winter on hot drinks and ski trips, until suddenly it’s summer again, like a miracle that was always going to happen.

I like to hope that love is as inevitable.

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  1. Love definitely can last longer than a summer. 35 years and counting.!!!!