Summer is starting and I have no wisdom for it: I am too busy feeling. I want to capture something so bad I am reaching and reaching helplessly. I am so busy trying to pick apart, to understand, failing and staying in the river and letting it flow over me, I’m so young it always feels like standing at the edge. I think about writing this all the time, write it over and over in my head and barely write at all. Writing means stopping, means distance, and standing outside. It has never taken me so long to write so few words. And I only have a few days left of this strange buzzing. I’m terrified I might let it slip by.
This month I’m living right under the roofs. I hear my neighbours running water, hear them coughing. No pacing: the rooms are too small and the heat is inescapable. Anne Carson says “life and no escape”: the heat wave has turned us all languid, walking and talking as slow as drops of honey on their way down. We hand our bodies over, lay and move quiet and leave the air undisturbed.
Every summer I feel like a child again, long hours spent waiting for words to settle over my skin. I stand at the open window wishing for the night air to carry me on its way out. I’ve never been bored of the summer, of its seeds and fruits and water rising up to my ankles. It’s a giving season, and I have a hungry heart. I’m a child whose joys and terrors are too big for their body, tears and shouts seeping from my skin, standing at the edge of something too big for me to understand.
Every summer I am a teenager setting my world ablaze. I used to long for romanticism, to stand at the edge of landscapes and try to pry my way in, hands pushing and asking for more, but I was standing outside. Summer is all kisses and buzzing skin and sun rays and everything happening all the time. It’s wilfully disregarding any lack of comfort in favour of enjoyment: holding sticky bodies and walking in the too hot sun. The room is tiny and the warm air is trapped in and Nina Simone is playing in my ears: it’s not pretty when you stand outside, but it’s so much to feel. Everything clings (skin to skin/ cloth to skin/ ink to paper). It’s magic season.
And so: as willing as I am to learn, I’m terrified. This summer in particular is quickly shifting sand under my feet: everything is moving, changing all of a sudden after two years of outer quiet. I keep grabbing, turning around, trying to get one last look (at a door closing, at a turned back, at the places I leave behind). Sudden change is comforting because it’s a reminder to me that knowledge is relative. I have to relearn my ways, find new ways to navigate new relationships and new spaces. It’s still so much, all at once. It’s still water flowing into my cupped hands as I stand terrified of losing even a single drop, of missing a meaningful moment, of cutting off a connection.
Biting into the ripe world doesn’t feel like triumph, or contentment. It feels like shrinking, like being reminded of everything that is behind the still closed doors. It feels like the way your heart moves around when you hear the name of someone you love. Like those Chagall paintings of people flying as if they were the night itself. Like realizing you are so young you could cry. Sometimes we forget.
There isn’t much to take away from this yet, only my soul noisily pacing inside while I’m listening.