Once again, it is the beginning of August, and I’m walking around with the feeling that I’m running out of time. I haven’t done everything I planned to do, I haven’t seen everyone I planned to see, and I haven’t really started packing. But I don’t feel like I’ve failed. Finally. I have had a wonderful summer. I had my first real job, I saw my first midnight movie and I watched “The Lion in Winter” without falling asleep in the middle for the first time. Lots of firsts. But now, I’m coming into a list of lasts. Last time I’ll see these people before heading back to school, last time I’ll drive this car, sleep in this bed. I’m happy to be heading back to school, but at the same time, I wish school could come to me so I wouldn’t have to leave.
Summer is the funniest of the seasons. No other season embodies freedom so well. No other season seems to encourage outdoorsy-ness. I thought I would feel trapped in my job, all cooped up in the restraints of actually having to be somewhere doing something, but I didn’t. I felt a lot more free than I thought I would, simply because a lot of my job meant that I got to be outside in all weather. And I mean all weather. It rained, it shined, it gave me the world’s best worst farmer’s tan. And I loved it. I didn’t think I would love it. But I did.
I’m used to my summers going a certain way. I read, go to movies, see my friends, drink lots of iced chai, go to concerts, spend time with my family. I’m not used to giving up a large chunk of my time to dress in khakis and spout off about the Derby for long periods of time. I knew I would like talking about the Derby, but I didn’t expect to like the dressing in khakis part. I thought I would resent giving up most of my time to customer service, stopping the resentment long enough to collect my paycheck. But I didn’t, because I got to do everything I wanted. I read, but instead of whiling away the hours on my front porch swing, I read on the bus on the way to work, or on my lunch break. I saw movies with my friends, I drank iced chai with my friends, went to concerts with my friends, spent time with my family. I just changed up my schedule a little. And it was nice to have some structure. So many times in the summer I forget what the date is. While that’s a delicious feeling, I also enjoyed the feeling of purpose. My summer became a very busy one, but not so busy that I lost myself within it.
The beginning of August is a peculiar kind of feeling. One thing is coming to end, while the beginning of something looms ahead. My first day of school in high school was always August 16. Those first few weeks of school have a special feeling in my memory. It’s a lot more dreamlike than any of my other school memories. The lack of true homework, of pressure, of stress, lasted until Labor Day. Then, it was like a switch was flipped and everything began. All the after school activities, all the tests and the projects and the busy weekends started after Labor Day and lasted until Christmas. The first two weeks of school are always the most magical. They just feel different than any other time of year, just like summer.
And now August 16 is coming again. The day I head back to the Hill. The day I start the first two weeks of school, and my second sophomore year. I know the days before these weeks will be harried and rushed and tearful and stressful, but then come the magic weeks. The weeks of new beginnings and old faces, where nothing has sunk in yet and I can just be along for the ride. Because I know, once Labor Day passes, the buckling down to work hard until Christmas will begin. Those two weeks are the gift that comes to ease the passing of another summer. I cannot wait to see what will come of them.
“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” –Henry James
P.S. I started this blog one year ago today. Let’s take a refresher course, shall we?
P.P.S. Cricket’s Songs of the Week will start up again on August 13. Don’t hesitate to stop by and hum a little.