Well, it’s summer once again. I won’t be coming to school this week, or for the next nine weeks. The sun is capable of causing pain but also spreading warmth, and the light retains a gold hue that tells me it’s warm outside, as opposed to the harsher blue light that winter brings. I can drink smoothies for breakfast every day without feeling chills run down my spine. I can walk outside in a swimsuit and no one thinks that that’s weird. I can sleep until noon (not that I’m very good at sleeping in that late; I usually get up at about 9:30 whenever I get the chance to sleep in), and I can finally work on the novel that I’ve been writing without worrying about school. My life is, for two whole months, no longer a choice between sleep and school, or work and friends, or between academics and extracurriculars. Things will smooth over into a routine, and it will be a much more relaxing one than the routine I deal with day-to-day all throughout the school year.
This year, my summer routine is a little different. Oh, did I say a little? I meant very, very, different. I will be much busier, and for the first time, my summer schedule cannot in any way be confused with that of a child, and it feels nice.
Up until last year, I’ve been diving with the same summer league springboard diving team every year, and I’ve been working within a bigger year-round league for longer than that. For the first time this year, I am coaching, and I have legitimate responsibilities and much less time for myself. I have to be constantly vigilant, watching and commenting and making sure that I am on the spot just in case another coach missed the dive. I’ve always been the diver on the board, never the person doing all of the work on the sidelines. It’s different, and I like it.
The other differences are more nuanced. I don’t think anyone would notice them if they did not know me very, very well. For example: I never changed the tea that I am drinking. Usually in the summer I drink tea. Sometimes iced, but usually not, and it’s almost always Earl Gray (sometimes Jasmine green tea, but that’s not the point). But I never changed the tea that I am drinking away from red chai this summer. It still tastes like autumn, and it’s still piping hot. Also, I’ve begun drinking iced lattes. They’re delicious.
There is a certain oddity to the way time passes sometimes. Driving always felt far away and unattainable, but now that I suddenly have that power, everything speeds up and I become more tentative than I can ever remember being. The number of summers I have experienced feels larger than ever, making the short season feel even shorter proportionally, especially when it is packed with activities as mine is. But there is something about summertime that is inescapable. Perhaps it is the heat of the south, or the humidity that makes the air as thick and sticky as risotto. Perhaps it is simply the catharsis of having a break from school, or from one type of work while I engage in another. Whatever it is, it makes summer feel long, even though in my head I know that summer is not endless. But when I think about summer, I see a beach stretched out to forever and I can hardly remember the ice of winter. No matter what else changes for me about summer, I highly doubt that this feeling ever will.
And here: Because it is summer, I feel that I must include this song. My friend introduced it to me a couple of years ago, and while it may not be the best song I have ever heard, it has become a bit of a signpost for us, indicating that yes, it really is this time of year again.
(the song doesn’t even start until about two minutes in, but you can watch the first two minutes if you want. They add some good comedic value)