It’s Labor Day, and everyone’s been rushing to get that last perceived fix of summer. Of course, they’re disregarding that the equinox isn’t for several weeks, much of August has felt like autumn anyway, and with the Midwest’s sense of meteorological humor we’ll end up with a heat wave in October.
I love summer as much as the next person, mostly because it isn’t winter. I’ve spent a long time trying to articulate what bothers me about the season, though, and it’s this: summer seems calculated to remind you exactly how ephemeral everything is. Some combination of your friends’ vacation pictures, advertising dollars, and the ghost of polar vortices past cries out to you with a resounding “Fuck you for not seizing the day hard enough. You are sitting in the darkness of your apartment doing crosswords, and you should feel bad about that.”
And you know what? Fuck that.
I had a great summer this year, flooded apartment and financial stress and intermittent crushing depression aside. I hit all the basics. (Barbecues? Check. Fireworks? Check? Frequent swims? Check. Firefly viewing? Check. Sunburn? Unfortunately, check.) I spent days tearing up Chicago with a motley group of lovable misfits from all over the globe who I am now privileged to call friends, showing them the city I love so much. I stayed with nigh-heroic friends for a week and wrote and ate mightily. I wandered my neighborhood playing Ingress and finding little waypoints I would never have thought to pass by. I played Dystopia Rising until my legs gave out and Changeling until my sanity did, and enjoyed every moment with those friends and those stories. I made my first trip to Gen Con. I spent my days setting the foundation for what I’d like my life to be, and my nights in thoughtful drunken conversation trying to process it all. There were road trips, and dancing, and blue hair, and you were there, and you were there, and you too.
A couple of weeks ago, I stood in Lake Michigan up to my ankles and watched the water gradate from silty tan to sea-green to aqua to that band of darker blue right where it touches the horizon. Then I went and bought peaches and ate one over my sink as the juice coated my arm.
It was enough.
I’m not very good with “enough,” but I think I’m learning.
Soon it will be fall, and that’s more my speed. In the meantime, I’m going to do less mourning the passage of time, and more watching. Just watching.