When I was young, summer lasted for ages. Endless, languid days were spent frolicking on freshly cut grass, inhaling the fragrance of mower clippings, on our backs, hands shielding faces from the sun, identifying shapes of clouds against pool-blue skies. The perpetual excitement that arose as music from the ice cream truck grew louder culminated in a reward of ice pops dribbling down our arms in the heat because we couldn’t eat them fast enough. I swear it didn’t get dark until 9:30 p.m. in the 70’s. And no, I didn’t live in Alaska.
We lived entire lifetimes in three months.
As a mother to two young boys, the season felt extended as well. With no school schedules to fall back on, it was a challenge to keep these energetic beings busy on hot days. Parks and pools with friends, beach outings followed by thorough bath times trying to extract sand from tiny crevices, catching fireflies in the yard. All of us finally dropping into slumber only to start over again at the crack of dawn with What are we doing today, Mommy? And if it rained? Oy.
Fun? For sure. Long? Definitely.
Now, our grown boys make their own schedules, leaving my husband and I to embrace the warm months ourselves. But the new pace of the solstice moon is relentless. Where once upon a time days lasted weeks, and weeks, months, now, our callous attitudes have us declare the summer almost over by July fourth.
The hands of the clock have grown stronger – this new strength moving time with merciless speed. Days bleed into each other until, without warning, leaves are burnt oranges and reds whirling in the wind of autumn and we have little to show for the warm season. Summers that long ago brought us joy and freedom are now fragments of time, gone too soon.
We’re at the point in our journey where we’re peering over that proverbial hill. On the other side, life is supposed to take on a leisurely pace. We’ll stress less, eventually work less, and maybe, maybe, the clock will slow down once again. I hope so.