Finally it approaches, summertime—the lazy yawn of the year stretching across ball fields and sunshine. It is different now then when I was a boy. Sometimes I barely recognize it. It used to carry promises of leisure or adventure—sometimes both in the same day. Now it teases me with warm evenings and bright stars, allowing me to become drunk on wine and conversation, only to throw me back to the wolves of reality come morning.
I suppose that is the difference, the morning, for it isn’t the days of summer that I covet and miss as much as the nights; and nothing ruins an evening’s promise sooner than the hint of alarm clocks and mortgage payments—the demon spawn of a mocking sunrise.
We used to spend our nights outside on the patio, usually with friends and music and pitchers of margarita. There were jobs and bills then too, but they weren’t real according to hindsight. They were expendable means to an end. A happy end. There was a freedom in the air that we didn’t even recognize. We breathed it in and took it for granted. The nights were long and we were young, and glasses of whiskey or wine drifted with that night air, serenaded by Chet Baker or Jeff Buckley and the unrestrained laughter of men who were still boys and the girls we wished to woo.
Such scenes now have been reduced to special occasions and planned gatherings. What was once accepted and unspoken now requires phone calls and scheduling. It is a bitter reminder then, this onset of summer, that I have taken things for granted. The saving grace though is that it is not too late. Mother Nature has granted me with another opportunity and this summer I hope to not only recapture what was lost, but nurture it. A few less beers, turn the music down a notch, go to bed a little earlier—these are acceptable. I may have to get up and face the world with a new sense of determination, but when the sun goes down, I’m still that same laughing boy that I was then, and I want my sons to know me there, smiling and barefoot with their mother in my arms and friends at my side. I want their summers to be long lazy yawns of contentment.
It approaches, summertime, and I greet it with naked feet and a smile upon my face.