Tuesday, September 6, 2016

In so many parts of the country, highways and roads were no doubt choked with traffic, backed up with holiday weekenders driving back from beaches, lakes, mountains, friends's houses. In a way, I was one of those people--driving back from a friend's place, where I had spent my Labor Day bobbing about on a lake, in a pontoon boat. But on the roads I took to return home late last night, I encountered few other cars. That's one of the blessings of where I was staying--it's in the middle of Nowhere, Indiana, and so the drive to and from Nowhere is really pretty laid-back. As I drove home to Bloomington, my eyes bounced back and forth from this old barn to that pretty farmhouse to all the cornfields. The high point came at sunset, when the sun turned a perfect orb of molten gold, framed with pink, and slowly sank down behind the cornfields. Unobscured by any clouds, the sun gave its rays until the last possible moment, as though eager to share every second of its warmth and light, knowing its time is running down. 

After that, the twilight deepened, and the shadows became almost indistinguishable from the surrounding countryside. Every now and then, a late-season firefly gave a feeble wink--weaker than the sun's strength, but still holding on to whatever life was left in it. The fields, so recently tinged with the sun, became obscured with eerie fingers of mist. 

Thus ends my first Labor Day back home here in Indiana, and I guess, given that I am now in a four-season climate, this means that summer is over. Sure, it was 90 degrees out yesterday, and will be again tomorrow. Sure, summer lasts for another few weeks. But I think we are approaching the descent into the cold months of the year, and I loved that I book-ended my summer with time spent sunning myself in the cold waters of a lake, surrounded by laughter and the sheer joy of being out-of-doors. 

Without meaning to, I totally had "The Summer of Mel." Picnics and cookouts in parks; new friendships made and old ones strengthened; evenings spent on my back patio blowing bubbles and drinking beer and listening to the dull roar of dozens of A/C units close by; more than one night spent dancing the night away at the neighborhood gay bar. It has been the best summer of my life, despite--or perhaps because of--the lack of an Epic Summer Romance. (Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably why it was the best summer ever!)

The roadside stands are still selling sweet corn--but pumpkins are appearing, too. Folks around town have already decorated their front lawns for Halloween. Some of us are ready for the next season, the death of the year, just as by next February or March, we'll be ready for sunlight and warmth again. 

Good-bye, summer. Thank you for...being you, which is hot and humid but not horrible and suicide-inducing. Thank you for reminding me of the proper magic of your months. I can't wait to meet up with you again. 

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