Excuse the cheekiness but I had to find some way to answer the naysayers among us who have already begun to lament that the summer of 2014 is practically over. You know them: the lamenters, complainers, and kvetchers, who right now are saying that before we know it, the lazy and languid and lovely days of warm temps and slow schedules: it will all be gone. For them September is pounding on the door already, demanding to be let in, and so we should all just begin to prepare for the inevitable day after Labor Day.
WHAT! SUMMER? OVER!? Nothing is over until we decide it is!
Me? I’m not getting back on the crazy train called back to school and back to work and back to full speed until I absolutely have to, until the last minute, the very last second of summer. Calendar wise we are certainly in summer’s sweet spot right now. The season officially began June 21st and ends next September 21st, so the mid-point, the exact middle of summer is Tuesday, August 5th. Not one day sooner.
The weather’s summery, no hint of fall’s crisp and cool air. We’re in the dog days, the hottest time of the year, named thus because of the rising and falling of Sirius or “dog star” at sunrise and sunset. As the ancient Greek poet Homer wrote in “The Illiad”, “Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky, On summer nights, star of stars, Orion's Dog…brightest of all...bringing heat.”
Summer’s not kaput.
I mean I haven’t even done everything I need to do each summer, not even close. Haven’t been to a Red Sox game to cheer on the BoSox who valiantly fight on to defend their world championship. O.K. That probably won’t happen. The Sox are in last place as of today, ten and half games out. Reminds me of what life used to be as a summertime Boston fan pre-2004. But they are still our team, every summer.
Summer isn’t gone, not yet.
I haven’t taken a long road trip, miles whiling away, the hum of tires on pavement as the countryside zips by on a muggy evening. Haven’t cracked open my big summer book, Stephen King’s latest. Haven’t seen the sun set over my island get away. Haven’t tasted sweet watermelon or eaten enough fresh corn or seen the latest summer blockbuster movie. In these rituals I find my summer place.
I’ll bet you’ve got more stuff to do too. Catch a firefly in a jar. Spend the afternoon at the pond building sandcastles. Have a picnic on the town green and listen to the tunes at dusk. Kayak in a quiet bay or cycle on a leafy back road. And when those “Back to School” commercials come on the TV? Switch the station or better yet turn off and put away the screen and get outside. They’ll be plenty of time for vegging on the couch next March.
I’m not quite sure why every July there is always this cohort of people who insist upon reminding anyone who will listen that summer is now “basically done”. Cooked. Fini. Roll the credits. Maybe it’s because they took all their vacation days in July and are in anxious waiting mode for the ninth month. Maybe they’re just killjoys, who whine about the heat in August and snow in February, and forget how beautiful and amazing New England weather is, so extreme, such a gift. Maybe they’re melancholy. Summer can break our hearts because it is too short.
But here’s the news. The big news. IT IS STILL SUMMER and this is the season that God has made and our job is to be alive to it.
So get moving. Have some fun. Enjoy summer while you can. We can’t hold back time but we can be fully nailed to this present moment and revel in the miracle of today. Just this day. Just this one summer day.
It ain’t over. Happy rest of summer!