August 17, 2012

Summer on the tongue

I have to be honest with you. This is my least favorite time of year. There is something very symbolic about the green fading into gray, the air getting colder, the flowers dying. When I start to see the temperatures dip, I feel like I didn't take full advantage of the warm summer days. But every single year, I get through it. Even when I feel like I will just die without the sun beaming on my skin, no tan in sight, and the absence of swimming pools, I live to see another summer (and winter, and spring, and fall). I know that some of you love fall time, with the bonfires, hoodies, marshmallows, crunchy leaves, and Halloween. I see the appeal there, and once Fall is here, I'll get over it. But thinking about the shift from warm and sunny to cold and dreary makes me want to curl up and sleep through the season.

One of my favorite books is Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. It's about the life of a 12 year old boy named Doug, growing up in 1928 Illinois. The book really struck a chord with me the first time I read it in 2006. I was amazed at Ray Bradbury's ability to put everything I had ever felt about the fleeting joys of summer into words. And not just words, but beautiful words that you find yourself remembering long after the book is finished. He describes the little summertime rituals that he and his family go through each year--each one means something different, each one is crucial in the true "starting" of summer.

One of these rituals is making the dandelion wine. Every year, Doug's grandfather gathers tons of dandelions from the yard and stores them in the cellar to make the wine. Making the wine is a metaphor for taking all the fun times of summer and muddling them together in that summers' unique, distinct wine. The wine is taken out throughout the year--in spring, winter, and fall--and each time it is opened, those familiar joys of sunshine and memories of summer permeate the cold winter air, the crisp fall wind, and the rainy spring days. I want something like that. I want to be able to revisit the carefree sense of summertime, even when it's freezing out.

Now that I've made it seem like I'm suffering from debilitating mental issues, I want to tell you about my successes this week (don't worry, the list is blessedly short):

-We got our kitten this week, and he is not only adorable, but perfect for our family. His new name is Binx, as in Hocus Pocus (what? That's perfectly normal), and I've started calling him Binxie Cat. He is like the son I never had, except way better, because he doesn't wake me at 2 AM to be fed or changed. Gotta love that litterbox. He also never cries (but does this really cute "Mew" thing) and bathes himself often.

-My column was published in the Watertown Gazette on page 5, making me look super-important and very clever (this is my appraisal of the situation)

I want to leave you with a quote from Dandelion Wine:

"Dandelion wine.
The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered. And now that Douglas knew, he really knew he was alive, and moved turning through the world to touch and see it all, it was only right and proper that some of his new knowledge, some of this special vintage day would be sealed away for opening on a January day with snow falling fast and the sun unseen for weeks or months and perhaps some of the miracle by then forgotten and in need of renewal."

Later, friends.

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