The Last Days of Summer

"Yeah, I've seen this water before."

“Yeah, I’ve seen this water before.”

The end of summer can be a letdown.

The weather starts to change, the wind picks up. Clouds blow in off the ocean with more frequency, and the vast blue skies of the start of the summer are sorely missed. The clouds don’t yet have the sharpness of fall, winter and spring. They’re a dull white and gray.

There is a grayness about the end of summer. It is a time when you realize that another of the free-to-do-as-you-please seasons has come and gone, and that so many of the savored plans dreamt up at the start of summer remain undone, some not even started.

I wrote a few weeks ago about living to the full as a child and as a parent. I sill believe in this fully and heartedly.

But now as the summer ends things don’t seem to be coming together. The city beckons but I don’t want to leave my summer abode in a pine forest on the coast of Argentina.

I know that I will and that I will settle back into a routine of work, school and activities, and that these thoughts of grayness will be forgotten until the next last days of summer.

The trouble is how to shake the blues right now.

It’s not easy.

Then something happens. As I ponder what to do, my eight-year-old son sneaks up behind my chair and yells, “Boo!”

I jump!

Then I turn to smile at him. I look his eyes. They are not dull; they’re full of wonder because, well… I guess it is because he has yet to worry about any grayness in life. He enjoys his days at school, he enjoys the city and doesn’t much complain about the fast routine. Sometimes it can be a bummer when his parents are harried and when he doesn’t want to do his homework. But this is life and he’s got his books to read and his Lego to play with and his sisters and parents, and his friends.

It should be that easy. But I am stuck in my rant about grayness at this time of limbo between seasons, and so I sit dully in my chair with the hope that my son will creep up on me again – with his two sisters – to scare me silly. “Yes!” I will say to myself. I won’t let the limbo get me down. I won’t be passive like how Evvy became in Joyce’s short story “Eveline” at a moment of change in her life, the moment when she must choose to step on to a ship bound for Buenos Aires from Dublin with a man she loves for a new start away from the hardships of her own broken family, a dead mother and a belligerent father.

I won’t cower at the chance. Not me. When the kids creep up behind me – as they are doing now – and pounce on me with their boos, I will turn and roar with wide eyes that are as alive as theirs, excited at the prospects that they may not see but that they don’t worry about because right now is as good a time as any to live, even as the gray clouds roll in on the last days of summer.

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