Smells like Summer
As the close of the work week was opening up to the weekend, I could feel the seasonal shift in my stomach. A tumble of butterflies in my gut gave me the urge to leap out of my seat and join the students who were being released from stagnant classrooms and diesel-fueled school busses outside. Summer seems to beg for the release of structure and itinerary. It is the opening of longer days guided by eternal sunshine.
I feel the waxy patina on surfboards and spy traces of sand that have made their way from the beach, to the car, and now home. Summer is the absence of shoes and pages of magazines dog-eared for later reference, it is measured through dirtied wine glasses, lobster tails, and missed phone calls. I have always felt like I was on the brink of escape when the school bells rang out. It used to give me a child-like thrill, and with a tinge of anxiety as the summer days would present themselves as never-ending. Like a heavy handed pull from the bottle, there is a sense of over-indulgence in the heat of the season.
I think back to vacations at Golden Lake outside Ontario, Canada, where birthday parades and lemon merengue pie defined our family gatherings. Fish guts decorated the dock and grandpas rosy cheeks and thigh-high waders could be see from the lodge. These days of youth bled into teenage getaways to Omaha, Nebraska where the air was so thick with humidity you couldn’t leave the house unless jetting to the public pool for reprieve and ice cream melted in your hand like lava under unforgiving temperatures. In Cape Cod, we rode bikes through forested neighborhoods in Harwichport and my budding curiosity about boys was illuminated by fireworks on the lake.
June meant graduation from the past, from certain friendships and family traditions. Summer was quickly becoming my opportunity to choose what destination, what romance, what tables I would sit at for months on end. In college, we had 4-month long summers of being spoiled rotten in the San Juan mountains of Durango, Colorado. We rode inner-tubes through class 3 rapids, jumped waterfalls, and drank fast and hard until the sun came up. Backyard festivities meant beer pong, keg stands, slack lines and our transportation was a fleet of longboards carrying us under a blanket of stars. This time of year also meant searching beyond the comfortable and stimulating habits of young indulgence and transformed into long trips overseas. Months spent in Europe aroused a sense of worldliness in me that couldn't be purchased over the counter or read in a book. Those summer retreats in Berlin, Italy, and Grenada outlined a map for me that I didn't know existed, ripping open languages and histories that would link me to a mindset of curiosity for years to come. Leather bound luggage and maps stuffed into back pockets was the only thing I was thirsty for anymore.
Many birthday's were documented in the month of July, there were sun-kissed and sensual celebrations and promises to keep searching for more. I fell in and out of love under the August moon a few times and the desire to be a part of something outside of what I was experiencing persisted. The wayfaring woman on her way.
A wayfaring woman is one who is on the way...one who lives on the way.
Some things don't change. As of now, my bungalow is lit up by the summer sun, blossoming succulents, and bikinis hanging like tassels along the iron banister. I have been sizzling under the naked solar light above, my skin taut like stretched canvas and eyes sunburnt in my skull. This weekend I looked up 100 times wondering when her aggressive stare would lower and lids would close. I felt like a child again, but with brutal attention to the crafts at hand; reading an entire book, beginning a painting, cooking a hearty meal of freekeh and gingered carrots. I soaked in light through all of my angles, rolling against the terra cotta like a ripe pineapple on the BBQ. Limber length getting scorched by heat. There is something in the air that reminds me of newborn babies and first kisses; the freshness of something unconditioned. It is the time to begin.
June is the seminal month that represents change and graduation for me. All of my moments of transition seem to have blossomed in the Summer, as if planted in Spring to incubate under moist soil, and now they ripen, reaching totality by the Fall. For the first time, I am catching my breath before dreaming of being far away. Instead of craving the destination I am sitting firmly in the place I have landed. for now. I am doing all the things that bring me joy as I wrap up my time here in Los Angeles. My time here in this home as well as my visit on earth, for both are temporary. Months ago, I was anxious to GO…now! But as I let the monarchs summersault inside me, I am choosing to rely on more thoughtful movements before taking flight.
Setting my sights on a journey abroad feels honest and overwhelming. The desire to learn a language in a month and plan a year of travels is like living through another character. She sits over there in my spacious future and I am helping her navigate from here, in my cozy spot on the edge of the ocean. What is keeping me sane is the process of patience and forgiveness. Right now, all I can do is plan and protect my mission: to get involved with an environmental cause abroad that allows me to use my writing and explore documentation through video and story-telling with a group of well-intended visionaries. And in my truth, I want to be a student of the world.
This will all unfold from the practices, mantras, and diligent work that was planted under the earth in the now, and I trust that in due time, I will break ground. The summer has birthed so many sides of me and this is just another one.
Summer is my most favorite time of the year, perhaps it is because the sun shines infinitely bright, and there is nowhere to hide anymore, nowhere to go but into the light.