Last summer, mid-July, I emailed my friends a “Summer To-Do” list, but life had other plans. My not-quite-yet boyfriend abandoned me when I had the flu, I was drowning in the responsibility of a new job, I got bad news from the family. I sunk miserably in bed with a cold compress and emailed my friends, “I won’t be doing anything on this list.” And summer ended, sadly.
New York summers feel short. They aren’t the Mobile summer’s I’m used to, the ones that last until November 25th and then some. It’s this sudden weather change that makes me itchy in late July-early-August when I realize that the good temperatures are ending and that the pleasures of “fall” are just a diversion. If you look closely, winter is slipping its hand around your bare wrist.
But what a difference a year makes! I’ve crossed every item off the list this summer. Though I didn’t travel far, I travelled often. I saw Connecticut seaside towns and clean, quiet, New Jersey beaches in the mornings, and Staten Island over and over again. I went to rooftops even when storms were due. On a date at the Hudson Skyview Terrace (my favorite of favorite’s), the wind whipped the sheer white curtains of the lounge over our heads romantically.
I picnicked in Central Park. I tiptoed with a new friend through the Chinese sculptures and fauna at Staten Island’s Snug Harbor, eventually passing through my first bamboo forest. Last weekend I climbed down rocks to a stream in Central Park. I paused near some turtles – three turtles – sharing a rock. I realized I’d seen more nature this year than perhaps my whole New York life.
I got to drink my beers with my burgers and crab cakes in the daytime. I got to sip my rose and eat my oysters. I got to float in the water and I got to go on long evening walks. I had mid-day brunches and spent 15 minutes out in the streets laughing over nothing. All good things.
Two weekends ago I went to Rowayton, Connecticut with a friend. For our trip back to Manhattan, we went to the Metro-North train station after the sun set. Being that Rowayton is a small town, the train station closed, so we were all alone on the platform, including the one at the opposite station. Above the trees the supermoon hung. I passed my friend an ear bud, after telling him about my “Prokofiev Sunday” tradition. “Want to hear the suite?” I asked him. He nodded. Prokofiev’s “Dreams” from his “Summer Night” suite began to play. It is one of those lush, sweeping pieces that only he could orchestrate with such fullness.
A summer breeze came and went. Fireflies surrounded our ankles. A clarinet lifted me right off my seat.
And then it was decided: I’m having the best summer ever.