Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Time left yet to play
Summer is fleeing without really having stopped here in Colorado long. She seems to have had other things on her mind this year, like me. She's on the run now, Autumn chasing her across the days. The prairie grass heads have turned brown and crisp like ripened wheat. The wild roses have lost their blooms. The thistles have finished and been replaced with black-eyed Susan's. Autumn is waiting just over my shoulder. I can smell her in the crispness of the nightly breeze and see her in the red tipped leaves of my maple tree. The morning sun is slower to make an appearance and lost a great deal of strength. Darkness is coming on quicker of an evening and I have already found myself slipping to the closet in search of another blanket at night.
It is frightening to see a season pass so quickly and not know how you spent it. It feels as though I just flipped the calendar page to June and here it is the first of September. It made me heartsick to pack up summer. The shell boxes, the trays of scallop shells, the bits of things I tuck here and there to make it feel like a summer cottage. I realized I hadn't seen a body of water all summer, not an ocean not even a pool. And yet, as I tucked the treasures away to wait out another winter, I was beginning to get used to the idea of autumn. Summer fades slowly to let you get accustomed to the idea of her leaving. You find yourself reaching for a sweater without thinking, or sorting through recipes with soup in mind. Summer is slow and seductive as she changes her green for gold. She tantalizes you with peaches, then pears. Apples and then pumpkins. And by the time that first drizzling autumn day arrives you're ready to greet winter with knitting and books. The urge to run away in the sun is gone, or at least curtailed for the time being.
Since money was tight and I couldn't have a real getaway, I had to get away the best way I could, escaping into films and books. In fact, this is the closest summer I've had to the ones of my childhood, when I lugged home great bags of books for the summer reading program.
I just couldn't wait to see the film Julie and Julia. Had to see it opening weekend. I'd read Julie Powell's book. I'd watched Julia Child for years on PBS. I love to cook. Besides, my name is Julie, how could I not want to read the book or see the movie? I walked out of the theater hungry. I walked out wishing I could see more Julia Child, or I guess Meryll Streep as Julia Child. I walked out wishing I'd read Julia Child's memoirs because the whole love story between her and her husband Paul was just wonderful.
So, I took myself off for a trip to France with Julia's memoir. Suddenly I found myself yearning to visit a country I'd had no interest in before. Even if I couldn't pronounce all the French, the food sounded wonderful, and Provence was now as appealing to me as Tuscany has always been. I'm feeling very Julia Childish, and inspired to spend long periods of time in the kitchen. Beth came home from a set visit with a recipe for grilled brie & pear sandwiches with carmalized onions in basalmic vinegar on walnut bread. I canned peaches and remembered the summers of canning with my mother. I feel like clutching my new bread book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice to my chest just like the girl on the cover.
I spent time with The Ugly Truth and time on the Moon and wondered if I would ever see a time with a real District 9? I bought a wand at the Renaissace Fair and wished J.K. Rowling would write a book of spells after seeing Harry Potter six. And I rediscovered my love of vampires with True Blood and Sookie Stackhouse. I spent a lot of time this summer somewhere else. With other people in other places in other worlds.
And how many times have I longed for the ability to time travel? To fix things or change things or just spend more time appreciating those times I had taken for granted? I even tried to revisit my childhood home, but that visit just proved you really can't go back. My afternoon in the dark with the Time Traveler's Wife had me rethinking that while sobbing into my purse. The book is allowing me even more time to travel or travel through time...
Tears have been a big part of my summer. Tears of anger. Tears of hurt. Tears of reminiscence. Tears of revolt. There's been no lack of water around here this summer. The hills around me are uncharacteristically green. I easily imagine myself away to almost anywhere and often have.
But now Autumn is calling me. Plying me with apples and sweaters. Whispering in my ear to come and play. Enticing me with a new box of crayons. For a while she, Summer and I will walk hand in hand, for there is time yet to play. We'll call to each other across the yards of our houses, playing hide and seek in the fading light.