Monday, May 2, 2011

The Illusion of Summer

by Julia Buckley

On a brief spring break on the Lakeshore, I allowed myself to dream of what it would be like to be at the lake in peak season--when there were other people there and the polar winds had changed to balmy summer breezes. I started making up little stories for myself. Version one: I live at a beachfront home in summer. Each morning I wake up and head down to the sandy shore for a long, invigorating walk. It's so enjoyable that I forget it's exercise, and by the end of the summer I lose weight without even trying.

Version two: Each morning I take my notebook down to the beach. While watching the sun gradually move higher in the sky and listening to the gulls call to each other in their quest for food, I am inspired to do some of my best writing. At the end of the summer, three agents fight over my new book.

Yes, something about that scenery made me indulge my dreams. And something about the lure of summer makes me think every year that THIS summer will be different. That I'll find the time to do all those jobs, read all those books, and attend to all those household tasks. I build the illusion of forever around summer, which actually grows shorter every year.

In summers past I, as a teacher, had some time off, but it always seemed to fly right by. This summer I'll be working a second job, so I'm assuming that it will go by even more quickly. And yet I still find myself pushing everything into an imaginary, endless summer. Yes, that's when I plan to read the books, organize the desk, get that garden in order, edge the patio, paint the boys' room, do that entertaining, see those movies. Summer will let me do it all.

But of course I'm placing too much responsibility on the shoulders of fragile, whimsical summer. Before I know it, she will have run off and I'll be facing somber Fall, who will be holding me responsible for all that I haven't done. :)

Still, when I smell that spring breeze and notice new flowers opening with each sunny day, I find myself pinning my hopes on Summer once again. It's foolish, but I guess it's a seasonal reality, illusory though it may be.

What are your summer dreams?


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Julia, the good news is that when the kids leave home, you will have more time. I had that idyllic summer last year: wrote in the mornings, went to the beach in the afternoons. The bad news is that something always happens. I'll be blogging on PDD about how we found that vandals had broken into our beach house. The good news is that we had nothing worth stealing. The bad news is the bills from the locksmith, the glass guys, et al.

Julia Buckley said...

Yuck. Even the idyll is fodder for thieves!

But that sounds like a lovely summer.

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