Growing up, as soon as school supplies were on display, I’d start planning my summer mix tapes so as to hang on to the summer breeze during the winter howl of January.
I think it’s because summer is short that I have this urgency to cling to all the moments and turn them into memories. I want to do something with the chocolate-vanilla swirl cone dipped in rainbow sprinkles, or the tomatoes from the garden that taste like sunshine.
What I really mean is I want to cling to what will soon slip away.
The other day I was taking Harper and her friend to their weekly dance class. These two have been dancing together since they were in second grade, and driving them to dance has been a highlight of mine for the past six years. Next year they will be in high school, and I’m not sure Harper will dance then. She hasn’t said as much, but I can tell swimming is pulling at her heart. Watching Harper swim, I see a person doing precisely what she’s made for. At least for now. And why wouldn’t you want to form your life around the thing that makes you you?
I will miss these two. I will miss the conversations they have and that they sometimes let me join. I hope they’ll stay friends. I wonder if Harper does choose to stop dancing, if she’ll ever wonder what it would’ve been like had she kept going, or if she’ll miss it. I don’t worry about it, but I wonder.
Mostly though, I’m sad that something is coming to an end.
In the car last week the girls who are no longer girls and I talked about the beginning of school. We talked about lunches and teachers and opening lockers. We talked about the weather and the glorious anticipation of autumn. Harper said summer is her favorite but she loves fall. “I couldn’t live some place where there was no change,” she said.
Harper’s friend said fall is her favorite even if it doesn’t feel like a storybook fall. Even if it’s hot or raining, she loves it.
“I’ll take it any way it comes,” she said.
Try It: Summer’s Finish
This week, write a poem that dances with an ending and a beginning. If you want, make it about summer’s finish. Here’s an acrostic I wrote:
every August I begin to look for summer’s end, but it’s
not yet in the trees, or the air. Only in the sun, settling
down a little earlier every evening.
Photo by Paul Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Callie Feyen.
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I have been a fan of Callie Feyen’s writing for quite some time but I finished this book in almost one sitting. If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.
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Bethany Rohde says
I feel that “settling down” in your prose and poem. All these bittersweet transitions! Great prompt.