In her autobiographical work A Backward Glance, Edith Wharton quotes Henry James as saying, â€œSummer afternoonâ€”summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.â€
With summer vacation long gone and summerâ€™s official days waning fast, I must tip my hat to James, a man after my own heart.
So where did it all go? It began with a couple of the weeks spent in the Southwest, events Iâ€™m chronicling (with blinding speed) in my series Girl Meets West.
I also spent a week at Davidson College taking a class on teaching AP English Literature and Composition, a new class on my roster this fall. On my way to and from class and during breaks each day, I watched, and never once saw anyone using this swing. So you know what I did during my last break of the class?
I went swinging.
You could do a fascinating study just on peopleâ€™s reactions to a live adult, particularly one once mistaken as a senior citizen, actually sitting on the swing using it. I got everything from looks of admiration and comments of â€œOh! That looks fun!â€ to furtive, almost uncomfortable glances from those passing by. Why do social norms dictate that the vast majority of swing-users be children? Yes, there are certain things associated with childhood, like diapers, that should stay in childhood, but arenâ€™t there some things, like swinging, that shouldnâ€™t be socially age-restricted.
I am just saying.
Midsummer, we spent a few days at the old house between tenants. Everything went well, except for the part where we arrived to find two pieces of our furniture looking like someone tried to eat the arms off of them. Yâ€™all, Iâ€™ve spent hours trying to imagine the series of events that led to the apparent consumption of my sofas.
â€œShoot, Sue, we forgot to bring food with us to the island and the Pigâ€™s not open now until 7 a.m. Wait, I have an idea!â€
â€œUmm, I know I shouldnâ€™t, but these just look soo tasty.â€
â€œHere, it was so dark in here with the curtains drawn and the movie going and all that I just thought I was eating the popcorn.â€
â€œNo one will notice we brought a dozen cats into a pet-free home if we just keep the cats inside all week long while weâ€™re out playing on the beach every day.â€
â€œHey, I know this is crazy, but you know what would make for a great bucket list experience?â€
â€œHave you ever tried couch?â€
Sorry, I just canâ€™t look at the bizarre and not try to figure out how it happened. Itâ€™s like some of my experiences with story problems in school. At some point, trying to figure out why â€œSam leaves the house in a Volvo traveling thirty-five mph following both a train traveling at forty-two mph and his wife Adrianna, who left two hours earlier from the same house on a bike traveling fifteen mphâ€ became more important than the actual math involved in the story problem. So Iâ€™d sit and ponder what possibly could be going on in the lives of Sam, Adrianna, and the nameless conductor that would cause them all to converge, purposely or otherwise, at a point in time I would have been able to identify if Iâ€™d stopped to do the math in the problem first.
I just canâ€™t smell â€œstoryâ€ and not partake.
See this is good.
This sort of picture is recurring with LCB, so Iâ€™m beginning to think he does this intentionally sometimes just to make me feel better about my less-than-noteworthy photography skills. As long as thereâ€™s at least one person lagging behind you in any particular skill set, youâ€™re okay, you know?
LCB and I had a romantic getaway in Florida for a few days in July. Once we resolved ourselves to a computer crash, attended to all the business first demanding our attention, and resigned ourselves to the fact that it would rain during ninety-four percent of our stay, it was totally romantic.
And then it was back to life, back to reality, and back to the here and now of no life outside of grading essays and deciding whether or not it would be prudent to allow students of dubious repute to return to their lockers for the books they were supposed to bring to class.
Either that or we were all contemplating hopping the deck and making a run for it, ditching school in search of just one more summer afternoon.