Reflections On The Long Days Of Summer

An essay.

Long winters make you wonder...

...if you're ever going to feel the warmth of July on your cheeks, or smell the sweet scent of a lover's sunburned skin when you're in bed with the blankets stuffed in the closet, because it's too hot for anything other than a gauzy sheet — even with the windows open to catch a breeze in the still, heat-thick night.

Those nights come after the best of days.

Days spent at the beach or by the pool. Days spent with drinks that sparkle like diamonds as you stretch out on warm sand under the watchful sun. Eyes closed under new sunglasses, you always open them and cock your head when you feel the heat disappear under a cloud, even if it's just for a second. Those are the best of days to drink cheap white wine out of plastic cups, and fall in love with a friend's friend visiting from out of town.

Summer days are deliciously long.

They steal back the fall and winter hours when as a kid you'd have been called in for dinner early enough to run back outside and play in the orange twilight. You'd eat faster so you could get out and try to lengthen the day. But now you don't have to. The summer days trespass into the territory that winter laid claim to just six months before: Months guarded with a sentinel of icy wind, and the threat of another snowstorm.

The long days call us to adventure, to travel, to wanderlust.

These are days when you can just drive until you find someplace that you've never seen before, perched above the shining blue expanse of the ocean etched with white-capped waves.

Summer is a season of hope, promise, and renewal.

These are days for weddings and the lazy hangovers after the reception, laid up in a hotel with the sliding glass door open, ordering cokes with extra ice, watching the wind tousle the branches outside and feeling achy and sore, but still happy because you got to watch your friends fall in love with each other all over again in the best of seasons. 

All that life in full bloom seems like an old friend who has come back to see you, just like she does every year, every summer. 

Summer is for lovers.

Sit outside drinking mimosas or coffee and fall in love with someone new. Someone who has fallen off the thin edge of curiosity, and who makes you smile whenever you think of them. Someone whose hands you have yet to hold, whose tears you've yet to wipe away, whose anger you have yet to feel: Someone who is, for now, still perfect, even though you know that nobody is, at least not in some idealized way. 

Maybe it's someone who you've been with for a long time. Someone who has trusted you with all those things; their hands, their tears. Someone who looks at you and knows you, and makes you bite your lip to think of. Someone you fall in love with again and again.

The long season is best spent with someone who has summered your life. 

Eventually the summer heat becomes a swelter.

Seasons change. 

Even the sun becomes a burden and distance from the colors of fall and the stillness of winter creates nostalgia. It leaves you tired after a couple of hours, even without margaritas or too much gin.     

You begin to look towards the days becoming shorter. You wonder when the autumn breezes will sweep back through to cool the sticky nights and to help keep you from having to peel your clothes off after work every day. 

You wonder when you'll see the long winter nights, when the streets are quiet and snow glitters in the streetlights. 

You begin to feel restless in the long season, and you wonder if the summer will ever end.

(An earlier version of this essay originally appeared on Quarter Life Circus)