The treacherous thing about summer, about any season really, is how you might be fooled into believing it lasts forever. Not only that, but how it can even cause you to block the existence of other seasons from your mind, the memories of seasons past shoved into some corner like a misbehaving child who needs a time-out. That is the effect the sun has on me.
I have always felt the most comfortable in warm weather and despite my fondness for late nights and ruminating on the waxy pallor of the moon, there is a connection between me and the sun. Somehow it is as if I am plugged into her via some strand of UV light, an umbilical cord that will never be severed. I feed off her, even as I can feel her, sense her and the state she is in.
In the early days of spring, when the snow has not yet thawed from the icy ground I can feel it, that barely perceivable sensation that the sun is growing stronger, that day by day her warmth can reach deeper inside us and melt away the winter that has seeped into our very bones. Like a thirsting flower I find myself pressed up against a sunny wall, feeling the sun caress my skin like a lover and try to take as much of it into myself before I must move on and carry on with the day’s tasks.
Then, as spring advances further, as green conquers the white and the pale yellows, the sun grows stronger still and with the warmth she gives us, so do I feel my own strength growing. I will always adore that moment of blissful warmth, when I stop shivering, but am not yet warm enough to remove my jacket. That’s when I feel like curling up somewhere like a cat and just bask in the fact that I am alive and that the seasons have once more turned for the better. My ability to enjoy spring, I must admit, comes from the fact that any allergies that plagued me as a girl have long since faded. No runny nose or itchy eyes for me, not anymore. It is just me and the sun and the life that she has awakened all around me. All of it, like me, celebrating her return to her seat in the heavens.
But I am never satisfied with what the sun can manage in the spring, when layers of clothing still covers my body with a stifling embrace. Mind you, I am not one of those people who take the first possible opportunity to strip down and put on their bikini. I have never had the patience for sunbathing, even ignoring the malignancy that too much sun can birth in our skin. But in my recent years I have developed a fondness for light, airy fabrics, for skirts of a modest length and shirts that leave my arms open and exposed to the sun’s touch. I watch the weather forecasts with eagerness, waiting for temperatures to rise high enough that I can wear my preferred clothing without any discomfort. Any sign of goose bumps and I retreat back inside. When the summer has reached that preferred temperature, and mind you, I do have an ideal upper temperature range as well, I steal snatches of time outside, whenever I can, just curled up in a sunny spot with a book. The sun is the only company I need, the sun and the words in my books.
And this is where I begin to fool myself. I begin to think that there will be nothing but days like these, days of airy skirts that wrap around my legs when I sit, daintily like some geisha in my preferred seat. Days filled with the sun’s caresses, when there is not a chill in the air to cause even the beginning of a shiver. Days when the sun remains strong and faithful, my constant companion.
Yet eventually that dreaded day arrives, when I can sense that change in the air, when I can feel the power of the sun diminishing. It’s barely noticeable at first, especially if the days remain sunny and clear. The first changes can be noticed in the evenings, when the sun slowly begins her descent earlier and earlier every day. When her rays first begin to dip below the forest on the horizon a chill begins to grow in the air. As long as you remain in her light you feel alright, but to step into the shade brings the full effect into play. The air is not as warm anymore and when you rise in the morning, at your usual hour, you can feel how the sun has not yet managed to pull the temperature into your preferred range. You reach for your sweater and feel the first dread spread through your body. This is it, you realize. This is but the beginning of what’s to come.
And just like that your mind is flooded with those repressed memories of fall and winter, how the sun will continue to grow dimmer, her time above the horizon growing shorter and shorter by each passing day. Soon enough, the night will once more be longer than the day. And that is when summer will be truly over.
I feel it now, as I step outside in the morning. I can feel that tug on that invisible connection with the sun. I can feel her communicate with me her regret that she was unable to hold on for much longer. But that is the way our world works, she tells me. She must diminish so that nature can take its course. Death must follow life, just like how life then follows death.
I know I will have to be the strong one in the long months to come, even as my celestial companion grows weaker, so weak that in some places she can barely pull herself above the horizon. I will have to burrow down into my clothing; I will have to steel myself for the biting cold that will seep deep inside my body. I will endure and wait, patiently.
I will wait for spring and the return of the sun.