Summer State of Mind?
...Is this thing on?
Hello again from the far shores of summer blues. It’s been a long 10 months since I last sent off one of these missives, and I’m finally dusting off my keyboard to share how I’ve been feeling. How have you been feeling? How’s your summer been?
I’ve been in an unusual summer state of mind, in the sense that it hasn’t felt very summery. I was attributing it to a slew of reasons, but I’ve finally diagnosed myself. It’s not quite the summer blues; I don’t have “seasonal depression,” I have “seasonal disorientation”. Since finding the expression, every time I go to try to tell a friend this new self-diagnosis, I lose the word right as I reached for it–a true reflection of the disorientation itself.
This summer has been an odd, strange, discombobulated summer. It started early and went fast, then lulled and dragged on. It’s already and only late July. I feel both resigned to the highs of summer being behind me, and resistant to the lack of summer plans ahead of me.
And summer in San Francisco is a constant seasonal disorientation. It’s cold and grey in the mornings, hot and sunny in the early afternoon, and windy and sad again by evening. The sun only comes out to tempt me while I’m at my desk, working the day away, the fog rolls in in time to confine me to my house by day’s end. You’d think I’d might be used to it by now, but it still feels foreign. Summer in San Francisco is a seasonal disorientation because summer has so far for me been synonymous with France. I lamented about this last summer, and remedied it with a week in Paris and plenty of time with friends. I lamented it two summers ago, and remedied it with pool days in the Sacramento sun and summer produce. This summer, I am still looking for a remedy. Maybe I should start with some ripe stone fruit. Unfortunately, the diagnosis does not come with a clear treatment plan.
But just like a diagnosis does helps to clarify mysterious physical symptoms, this diagnosis helps clarify my mysterious emotional symptoms. Of course I am disoriented. I need to reorient myself. I thought I was maybe headed in one direction–Paris and grad school–or another–a relationship–and I am no longer headed in either. The first was a decision totally out of my control, the second a decision entirely of my own making, both for the best. And yet together they throw out the road map I was working with, and leave me without a route. It’s time to re-write the map.
Writing has always been part of the re-orientation process for me. Words helped me make sense of things, both external and internal, so I’m reaching for them again now. And sharing them with you here. Writing makes it concrete, sharing it makes it real. (I’m not sure how much sense they make without much context, to be honest, but it’s a start. I’m trying to censor less and share more. Let me know how it lands.)
In fact, I wrote a lot of words recently I want to share with you here. I took a creative writing class through the winter and spring, and I hope and plan to share some of what I wrote then with you now.
Here, first, as a palate cleanser, a little poem which encapsulates the summer disorientation I’ve been feeling. I wrote this poem first in May, edited it in June, but now I’m leaving it alone in July. I meant to share it for summer solstice, so it now makes for a funny time capsule of my early summer state of mind, one I’m reaching for again. It’s silly and sweet, and it’s just to break the ice.
What’s your summer state of mind?
April was a poem,
May was a song.
June is a dance.
April was a poem.
Every day, a line,
Every week, a stanza.
April was green oak leaves, fresh as dew, in the bright breeze.
April was silver tipped grass and the wind in the trees.
April was an outdoor concert, moonlight glowing over a hillside of dancers.
May was a song.
May was a marathon.
May was a whirlwind.
May was a suite-case filled to the brim and buckled tight, a belt thrown around the middle, souvenirs spilling out the sides.
June is a dance.
June is a day in the sun.
June is a day in the park.
June is a party in the living room just for us.
June is a day at the beach, a day at a time.
June is a fruit tree, ripe as could be, fruit dangling and ready for the picking, the shade of a cherry tree, the taste of the fruit and the pit and the stem, the red juice stain on fingertips.
June is long drives and the windows rolled down.
June is a bike ride under blue skies, music blasting, cruising down the small town streets.
June is the first ocean swim on a hot hot day, the feel of cool water on sunny skin.
June is June is June is June will become July and summer and fall.
And May was a song,
And April was a poem,
And the year was long.
And the seasons fast and the months short and the days full, and June will become July and summer and fall.