The summers of my youth all blur together into a hodge podge of selective memories from that age 9-13 timeframe. I remember every day as being this idyllic 24-hour template that involved Steve and I climbing over rocks in the woods, going to an overcrowded, summer break dentist appointment, playing that horrible Color Game in the pool (with two people, a guaranteed victory/loss and therefore inevitable sibling ‘fight’), watching Doug on Nickelodeon (“Write to me! Stick Stickley! P-O Box 983… New York City! New York State! 1-0-1-0-8!”) while those late afternoon Pennsylvania thunderstorms rolled in, and capturing fireflies (sorry, ‘flicker-butts’) after sunset with smell of grilled burgers and corn on the cob and grating churn of the old ice cream maker lingering in the background.
The summers of my teenage and early college years feature memories of me at the Pottstown Health Club (either on a bike watching Dawson’s Creek or repetitively folding towels behind the front desk), sitting in my car in standstill traffic on Route 100, windows down with A/C off (because I thought that would save me money on gas?), attempting to read by the pool in solitude that was interrupted every time by either the bark (and eventually, full-body dousing) of a very jealous golden retriever who was not invited to the party or the inevitable hum of lawn mowers that would somehow ALWAYS (very awkwardly) arrive at the exact moment I sat down, playing Scrabble while mastering my lifeguarding whistle-twirling skills at Laurelwood, running down the High Street strip or up the fairway of number 3 on the golf course, and hours spent chasing children around the Hill School campus.
And in all, there are the common themes that are less specific: thunder and lightning putting on a Broadway spectacle across the sky, that sweet Charleston salt air that coats your skin in the oppressive humidity, the ever-present sound of the ocean and cicadas, the taste of a rapidly melting soft serve cone or early evening porch-sitting glass of wine, and the intoxicating smell of sunscreen. In all years, I simultaneously thrive in the sunlight and clear skies and wither in the tedium of unscheduled days and self-induced pressure to savor every second of warm-weathered goodness I can.
Adult-life summers feel barely different from adult-life falls, and winters, and springs, and blur together less magically. Living in places that don’t have proper summers (excluding those southern years) has thrown my internal compass off, and the reality of working jobs not governed by an academic calendar has tackled the tedium but increased that pressure to get outside as much as possible. I’ll give Tahoe credit though – while there was quite the winter, and spring and fall were a bit abbreviated, those three seasons were distinct. Summer has been here in all of it’s 85-95deg, low-humidity glory. and I’ve found myself parked in some chair on some porch with my laptop, wifi and beagle for 90% of my working days.
I cannot even remotely complain about that (seriously, although it does sometimes confuse my brain how I can actually be doing these two, so totally juxtaposed things at the same time), days have definitely all blended together in a very fast-moving, undefined blur… and I’m undecided with how I feel about that. Like most of this past year, I want time to stop and slow so I can cram more into my days, but I’m also moving on this treadmill that I wish I could speed up to just get through the next 27 weeks of this year with the highs frozen and all of the more painful ‘awareness’ and ‘processing’ and ‘money’ stuff done.
But unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and again, I can’t really complain. June was enjoyable, in a steady-paced, plod through early mornings sort of way.
I ran some on roads and trails and continued trying to dissociate from numbers and pressure and pre-determined routes and goals, and some runs were fine, and other hurt, and it was all okay. Instead of going totally cold-turkey on stopping running, I’ve been gradually ramping down how far or intense I’m going, mostly in an effort to retrain my brain that it really, truly is okay to not run 10 miles a day (and it still counts as running) and to give my body a bit of a rest.
Alex and I have been doing some early morning hikes up local trails to start warming up our hiking muscles (which are apparently not the same as running muscles, as evidenced by the extreme calf and quad pain that set in the next days), and clearly 6am is the time to get out over the summer if you don’t want to encounter other humans.
I’ve been rediscovering golf (…and finally ordered actual golf shoes that don’t have purple spikes and aren’t from 2001) and have been shaking my head at my perfectionist preteen/teenage self, who, despite despising this game SO MUCH, did actually acquire some ability that is SO NICE to have as an adult.
I spent a lovely Saturday with my amazing SF friends taking family photos and celebrating baby girl’s one year of life, and I need to start doing people photography more often, because it was so much fun.
I spent Saturday morning on this much-needed, short trail adventure (which is becoming my go-to for a small, one-hour dose of climbing, bushwhacking, lake views and singletrack downhills) and then the afternoon curled up outside reading Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited, which was a beautifully witty and poignant young adult read (and a nice complement/diversion to last week’s Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabes)… and it was all I needed to reenergize on a summer Saturday.