“Very hot and still the air was, Very smooth the gliding river, Motionless the sleeping shadows,” was how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described a summer of his memory. We thought of these words when we observed two children playing above, on a lawn that they miraculously had all to themselves.
At moments like this, it feels like each year really has only two seasons: summer and everything else. The other three are, in some sense, just transitions — spring’s frantic burst of life and growth, autumn’s poignant dying, and the pensive slumber of winter. But summer is different. While the year’s three other quadrants exist in relation to one another, summer is really about nothing more than itself. This is the season when our relationship with all that surrounds us consists of saying: we are here, we are alive, and that is more than good enough. It is when our lives, at least for a moment, stand still — and so does the spinning world.
If the other nine months of every twelve are complex and dynamic, these three are meant to be simple and static. Poised, in a way that hints at the possibility of remaining in this state forever. Of course, we cannot, and we know as much. But there’s the magic of summer: Momentarily, we are gifted not merely the opportunity — but also the capacity — to ignore the headlong rush from yesterday to tomorrow, and dwell in an idyllic present.
It is a trite platitude to say that the effort and grind of the other three seasons are what make summer possible, but we suspect that just the opposite may be. Perhaps it is moments like the one depicted above that sustain each of us, not merely through the year’s other seasons, but for a lifetime.
photo Robert Simko
A short film about the National Lighthouse Museum
For more info, www.LighthouseMuseum.org
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