Where I live, summers are not measured by the calendar so much as by holidays. Summer begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day. The mid-point is marked by the Fourth of July. The calendar does not agree, of course.
Summer, according to “calendarians” (is that a word?) begins on or about June 21 and ends on September 22 or 23rd (depending on the year). But, no matter how you measure summer, it’s the shortest season of the year; although if you count days, it’s about the same length as all the other seasons. Still it seems shorter.
And, that’s all that matters, I guess.
Scientifically speaking, the day that summer begins is called the summer solstice. That’s when the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Cancer and marks the time when summer’s direct sunlight reaches its northernmost point. I do realize that those of you who live in the southern hemisphere are experiencing the winter solstice at this time. Lots of pagans used to go wild and get drunk when the winter solstice came – but that was before there were furnaces.
I hope all of you in OZ and NZ behave yourself – you do have furnaces now.
Summer is a time when the days are long, the nights balmy, the breezes warm, and time passes much too quickly. It’s a fact. I don’t care what calendarians say, or what watches say, or what is logical. Time passes most swiftly when summer is here. The older you get the faster times flies anyway… and summer just exacerbates that.
Einstein’s theory of relativity gives us a deep understanding of space and time. But, it explains a lot more than just black holes, time warps, worm holes, and the relationship of energy and matter. It explains that the passage of time is relative to how old you are and how you perceive it.
Einstein once explained his theory of relativity to grade-school students this way: An hour spent on a park bench sitting with a pretty girl seems like a minute. A minute with your hand on a hot stove seems like an hour. Time is relative to how you perceive it, and it can be devastatingly relative if you don’t perceive it until it is too late. The closer you get to running out of time, the faster time seems to pass. Time cannot be replaced with more time. When the hourglass runs out, there’s no more time left.
Lights out. It’s over.
In the summer, when soft, scattered, morning mists softly envelope the silvery-green meadows and the early morning sun rises through the thin veil of clouds to greet the dawn, I feel the sad and forlorn ghosts of summers past. Ethereal and ephemeral as they are, I feel them walking beside me – everywhere. All those barely-visible images, like watermarks, difficult to discern, yet as real as the ground upon which I walk, appear and disappear in my mind. I try so hard to capture and savor them, but I cannot fully enjoy them or truly experience the sadness within them – they are too fleeting. They are just teasing, evanescent, misty morsels of one person’s past. My past. And, trying to recapture moments from the past is like trying to capture the wind in a bottle.
Summer: The season in which time passes more swiftly than in any other season. The days, long and bright, begin to become shorter and shorter and the slippery slope down to the cold, dark, dim days of winter begins. Yet we barely take notice of it until that first blast of winter’s cold slaps us in the face. By then it is too late. Winter has arrived and summer is long gone and far away – and time moves forward, relentlessly taking us with it.
Summer is the time when most of us get caught up in a lot of activities, and added to the day-to-day “things” we all have to do, we seldom have to for reflection. There are too many things to do, not enough time to do them, ,and ironically the long hours of daylight in summer fool us into believing that we have a lot more time to get things done. Yet, before you know it, the bright summer-green of trees begins to look lonesome, worn and dull and gray. The bright green leaves turn dull right before our eyes yet few ever notice it. We’re too busy. Then the balmy summer nights begin to have a slight hint of chilliness about them. The morning dew grows heavier and more noticeable, and the sun goes down sooner and greets the dawn later. We are all too caught up in “summer” to notice that time is passing us swiftly by and autumn is just one breath of frost away.
As I walked this morning, I watched the veil of summer mist vanish into the day, exposing a bright, summer morning sun burning in the clear, sapphire-blue sky. It is summer and time is passing too swiftly.
I think about my youth and the “springtime” of my life. It seems, looking back, it was a long stretch from kindergarten to college. Spring seems to have lasted a very long time. Then came the summer of my life, and it seems like it lasted only a day or two and autumn was upon me. I wonder whatever happened to summer? It does me no good to wonder. The summer of my life is gone. It came and went and it seems I must have barely taken notice of it. I was too “wrapped up” in things that seemed important at the time. I wonder what they were? Again, I realize, too late, that I can never go back there again. The summer of my life is gone forever – to wherever summers of people’s lives go when they are gone.
This summer season, I am certain, will be more fleeting than any before it. Each day I promise myself that I will take more time to enjoy each day; take time to enjoy the sunshine; the eerie but beautiful morning mists; the soft, warm, gentle breezes, the balmy summer nights; and the shimmering summery night sky – when the moon, painted by a Devine hand, hangs so beautifully yet tenuously among the stars, clouds and comets. I wonder if I’m the only one who notices it? Surely not. But many times, I have not noticed it. Many things that have come and gone in my life passed by me without me taking much notice.
Now when I do try to remember all those faded memories of moments passed, all I see are faint watermarks. Will I really take the time to enjoy the days of summer that still remain this year? I promise myself I will. But, will I keep that promise or will I allow less important things to get in the way?
John Lennon said that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. I promise myself that, though it’s already getting late into the summer, I will not be too busy making other plans to enjoy what is left of summer.
I promise myself a lot of things, but keeping promises is another thing.
Here it is almost the middle of August. Summer will end in a few weeks; three’s not much summer left. But I will try to listen for the sound of soft gossamer wings that gently carry the fragile lessons and memories of summers long past upon them. I will listen and try to hear them. Many summers have passed and many summers I never heard those gossamer wings at all.
I’m sure they were there, off in the distance, but I never had time to listen for them. Sadly, it has taken me all these years to come to the realization that I have broken too many promises to myself as well as to others. I have always been too busy to appreciate special and ordinary moments that I should have appreciated as they happened. It’s too late now. They are all gone. Summery things are still flying out there flying around on soft, gossamer wings. They are the vague but real shadows of memories past. I will will listen harder for them them this summer. I promise.
I think the time has come that I start keeping my promises. It is about time I learn from the many mistakes I’ve made in the past. It is about time because I know that someday, my time will run out.