Friday, June 15, 2007

summertime, and the livin' is easy

summertime, and the livin' is easy
fish are jumpin'
and the cotton is high.....

i find myself humming that song as i cycle to work, or to the grocery store. or,if there doesn't appear to be anyone within earshot, belting the words out, full forte.

summer in the north takes my breath away. the very air we breathe is alive with currents of vairied scent and temperature and sound. ever changing, but always full of vitality, to the last molecule. my lungs aren't big enough to take it in. so complex i never tire of it, because my senses aren't capable of understanding more than a fraction of it.

the sky is infinitely wide and deep. on a clear, calm morning, amidst birdsong and bee harmonies, all overhead is the sharp blue of heartache. clear and strong, experienced on a cellular level - endless, primal and unforgettable.

even summer storms are thrilling. i was caught in a thunderstorm yesterday as i cycled home after work. soaked to the skin and dripping, i stopped at the bank for a bit of business. the odd looks i got told me it's somehow not dignified, or appropriate for someone of my age to be out riding a bicycle in the rain. but i was the happiest i've been in weeks. that smell, when the first raindrops touch the dry earth, is one of life's bright jewels. and my hair, after the rainwater rinse, hadn't been so pleased with itself in years.

perhaps the beauty of northern summers is felt more strongly because they are so brief, and because we've suffered through many long, dark, frozen months to get to them. in winter, people here coccoon themselves in their most comfortable spaces, and go to great lengths to distract themselves, and each other, from the inhospitable climate on the other side of their walls. but in summer, most everyone is outside, meals are taken outside, special events are held out of doors whenever possible. i can't remember the last summer wedding pictures i saw that were taken under a roof. the local pubs and restaurants know this is their toughest season, unless they're clever enough to have an outdoor area for summer use. no one wants to be inside.

in summer, it seems no one sleeps. children are hard to put to bed, and they arise early. sunset at the time of the solistice is in the wee hours of the morning, and sunrise is only a short time after that. folks are out in their back yards, or on their decks late every night. every balmy eveining feels like a weekend. those who fight nature's influence tape foil on their chidren's bedroom windows, turning them into dark caves reminiscent of the endless dark, frozen months. rooms like this fill me with gloom, and give chills... a premonition of winter.

but, premonitions aside, summer is for savoring... for rolling its fragrance around in our lungs, holding it there as long as we can, till oxygen deprivation forces us to let it out, to quickly suck another delicious, hungry breath in. for delighting in the ecstasy of sunwarmed wild berries exploding their flavor on our tongues. for cool rains and lighting-split pewter-grey clouds. the ensemble music of streams making their way through the tenor continuo of rustling leaves, trees, and forests, as the summer's melt and rain joins with the landscape, into the full orchestral scores of rivers, lakes, and oceans.

i do love summer