the pleasantest manner of spending a hot july day

“He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the moors, with the bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, and the larks singing high up overhead, and the blue sky and bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly.” (Emily Bronte)

Summer seduces us with its charms. Its tendrils steal inside and swathe our hearts. Its song dances along our thoughts and its breath tickles us so that we laugh within. It teases us with long hot days which find their end on a canvas of magenta skies which blacken, lightning slithering across as a portent of the cool relief of the storm.

Yet hidden under the guise of such pleasures lies a lesson that might seem dry and dreadful were it imparted under the cloak of snow and ice. Summer is a time not of stasis but of growth, not of reflection but of riotous thought and ebullient creativity. We have no choice but to yield.

Even the most staid and steadfast of characters cannot but give in to its call. Even the most set of routines is disturbed yet somehow it ceases to matter. Responsibilities are shuffled to make room, to make time, for what seems important now, to what is important, to living.

Creativity soars and imagination splashes and curls like waves over the rocky seabed. There is no time for nesting and putting things in order and even if we wished to we would be unable to slide silently into our winter habits, into our boxes, into our grid so finite and comfortable in its sameness.

In this summer bliss our senses are sharpened, with brightened eyes we see the colorful world with new acuity, smell with bliss the blossoms, the salty air, taste with awakened palates mint and lime, the freshness of just-caught fish. Our ears are filled with the polyphonous melody of birds and cicadas, children laughing. The world is alive and we cannot help but be drawn under its spell.

Naturally we do not give ourselves wholly to its charms without a fight. Our very nature reminds us of not what we wish to do (sit on the dock and let our toes wriggle in the cool water, lose ourselves in a book, eat a whole bowl of berries until their juices run down our chins) but what we ought to.

There are even moments when we yearn for a life neat and tidy and ordered, remembering how with wildness harnessed we behaved ourselves, our lives under our control (or under the illusion of it). We yearn for sameness and routine and the safety of being tucked in our offices, in our cubicles, in our houses, when the days are shorter.

This lasts just an instant, for soon the cacophony of summer grasps our hands and pulls us out and swings us about in a tango under a blue-black sky spotted with stars. There will be time for that, later.

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