It’s a warm Friday afternoon in July; post a lovely and delicious bit of barbecue. Sometimes a good meal can leave you sluggish, content to just sit and bask as your stomach begins the digestive process, enjoying your current company of peers. My father has instead chosen to educate my brother and me on the tired old topic that is the difference in work ethic between his generation and the more recent ones.
One morning last fall, huddled up in a classroom with other eager writing students, our professor spoke about how one could measure the passage of time, of generations by associating it with the kind of events that occur in someone’s life that are shared with large numbers of people. What she meant were the kind of large events that they affect millions of people, sometimes even crossing national and language boundaries. She mentioned the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister in the mid-80s as an example of such that an event for her generation, then smiled and added that naturally for most of us it was just something we had heard about during our history class in school. She then proposed that we all sit down to write about a large-scale event appropriate for our generation: The events of 9/11.
There is something that can be said about rising early.
Mind you, I have never been one who willingly drags herself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, especially in the darker and colder winter months when the sun had barely managed to rise into the sky herself before I had to leave the warmth of my home to begin my long trek to work. Yet, in these six or so months when I have been away from work and for the most part away from any other obligation that make it necessary for me to be an early riser I have come to view those hours of the day we can still refer to as “morning” in a slightly different light.
When I was little, I saw nothing odd in the way my family worked. There was nothing odd in my mother’s mood swings and how it concerned me on a personal level when she was angry or upset. There was nothing strange about my father, who at first used to sing us songs and read us bedtime stories, but with time become more engrossed in his computer and spending most of his free time at home as a solid back in a computer chair, the clacking of computer keys filling the sun-kissed air.
I huddle close to the thick plate glass of the dolphins’ watery domain, when suddenly one of them stops in their circuit of the observable area of the enclosure to study us humans. As we study the dolphin, it looks back at us, keeping its eyes trained on our every movement, following us closely as we move off to the side.
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.
Sometimes you get surprisingly good stuff from stream of consciousness writing. This was easily tweaked into something I really wanted to share. Read on below.