Each night I climb into bed and my head fills with all of the things I did not do. It’s like a coming tide, the wave high enough that it threatens to knock me down. I am a petulant child, saying in a small quiet voice, “That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all.” No one hears these whispers. Only I know the way my mind won’t turn off. Like a rock tumbler I churn these thoughts: If I spent the day knitting then I wasn’t reading. If I was in the garden then I wasn’t riding my bike. If I was home then I should have been out on an adventure…
And then today I saw this:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -Emerson
I wondered if such a thing were even possible, but still, it filled me with hope. Absurdities and nonsense–I can relate to that.
We have entered late Summer and the evenings are coming on sooner. These past few weeks of gorgeous longed- for weather have flown by; and those days of high humidity, of rain–those awful, hellish, almost dreamlike days–are gone. I don’t even really remember living through July, instead I just barely survived. I was not made for such soaring temperatures. Looking out over my yard now I am still surprised to see that weeds have overtaken parts. I wonder what I was doing to let it get this way, to have been so neglectful. Then I remember the constant rain and staying indoors looking out and wishing I could be in the garden, my hands in the dirt. There’s always next year is the consolation I give myself. I still have hopes for the tomatoes.
Earlier this week M and I stopped in to the office supply store and there were people we knew there shopping for school supplies. They asked if that was why we were there as well. In a state of clear denial I thrust out a solid “No.”(I think the “hell” that should have preceded that word was politely omitted, but clearly implied.) I said we were without a son, and M and I were on a date. As long as I didn’t shop for supplies then it meant we wouldn’t have a need for them and the impending doom of the start of the next season would fail to arrive. Right? Such is my logic.
I relayed this story last night to the crowd who had gathered for roasting marshmallows at our friends. They host these weekly get-togethers in their backyard throughout the warmer months. I was pleased when they all heartily agreed with me, that it was much too early to even consider doing such a thing. Keep in mind that these people are older and no longer have school aged children. Yet I felt a strong sense of solidarity, for these are the people I was meant to be with. Those who had gathered outside with fleeces and shawls keeping warm in the chill, standing by the fire to make just one more smore; striving to live in this enchanted moment for longer than is possible. All of us going home to curl up in bed, the smell of the campfire filling our nostrils, making you feel like you could close your eyes and pretend you were still there.
I confess I am the pretending sort. I believe in fairy tales and magic. I still feel like we have so much time to do almost anything this Summer. T gets home on Saturday and we will spend the next week having all sorts of adventures. First we are going to the drive-in, filling up on fries and onion rings and popcorn. Then we will take our annual trip with friends to go swimming in the lake; followed by a trip north to the museums and ice cream shop. I want to make popsicles and drink lemonade. I can’t wait to devour watermelon and corn on the cob in equal amounts. I want to live it to the edge of fullness.
It’s not a list that needs checking off, but rather a catalog of once-a-year experiences we have anxiously awaited. It feels almost too late to fit it all in. Almost. We are trying to live an eternity in each moment. I want to stretch out the season and make it worth the while.