Since summer is my favorite season, I’m always sad to see it go, and since I’m always sad to see it go, I have to blog about it.
It was a good summer.
Usually it seems that summer zips by far too quickly, but this summer was different. It seemed so long and leisurely. Memorial Day feels light years away from Labor Day. I barely remember the Fourth of July. Even Chincoteague feels like last year.
What was it about this summer? Perhaps it was the weather. Spring came so early this year. We were experiencing spring weather before winter was officially over. We had warm sunny weather for Easter. It felt like a real spring. Then summer arrived and it arrived on time. There were no cold snaps in June that had me reaching for sweatshirts. It didn’t rain all over every outdoor activity I anticipated. Sure we had some extreme heat, but that’s what summer is about. I’d rather relax quietly on a hot day than feel chilled and tense in extreme cold (I have to wonder if those people who say they prefer to shiver than sweat spend the kind of extended hours outside that I do and understand what it means to be thoroughly cold).
Obviously this summer marked the passing of another year, and this one in particular was the passing of another decade. I found myself oddly accepting of that. It was hard to say the word “forty” and it still is, but I don’t feel too traumatized. My hair isn’t too much grayer. I’m more overweight than I have been in my life, but my butt still passes the pencil test and I haven’t developed bat wings under my arms. My teeth haven’t turned yellow (and they wonder why I shun coffee) and I can still do pushups. I have a bad knee, but considering everything else, I think I’m doing okay. I can survive being forty.
So much went on this summer. There was my birthday party. What a joy that was to have so many of my friends and family there. I knew there would be a party, but I had no idea the extent of the people who would come out here for it. I am not just grateful to my friends and family, but I’m also grateful that Kevin would think to do such a thing for me. I have a wonderful husband. I’m so grateful for him every day.
There was Chincoteague. It is always a joy to be there. Nothing particularly different or interesting happened this year, but it was still a joyful trip. What do I remember from this year? I remember riding Cowboy at the Chincoteague Pony Centre and the interesting exercises the instructor had us do for getting him on the bit. I remember Captain Barry’s nature cruise and remembered how many amazing things you can see if you bother to look. I remember the deserted island beach he took us to. I remember the sunset kayak tour where our guide brought us to the back side of Assateague and how we could hear the sound of the ocean just on the other side, and how he plucked clams and oysters from the water and tried to get us to eat them with him. I remember the Pony Swim and the cowboy who fell off his horse.
There was Sian’s birthday party. I spent months wondering how and when her big party would be celebrated and if I would be a part of it. I was so grateful to receive an invitation to her surprise party. I had an amazing day at her party sharing the day with old friends and new. It was unforgettable to see the look on her face when I saw her walk in. I was equally grateful that she and I had some time alone the next day sharing an extraordinary breakfast.
It’s funny. I told Kevin that after Chincoteague was over I did not want to “waste” the rest of summer. I wanted to do as much and experience as much as I could while I still had a summer to do it in. I think we did a good job of that.
This summer I finally started riding Riddle. Let’s just say most of that drama is passed. I guess it has been decided that I’m not so huge and fat that she can’t handle me. Also, her trainer hasn’t been able to be around much and doesn’t ride her as regularly as she used to. Mom knows she needs me to help. She needs a rider who is better and bolder for those days when Riddle isn’t Ms. Perfect. Certainly getting on her back was one way to make for an unforgettable summer.
We spent Labor Day at the barn, staying at Minerals Hotel. It was the perfect ending for the summer. We spent our days riding, mostly riding two horses a day. I spent my down time at the hotel pool swimming laps and jumping off the cliff jumps. I took yoga classes while I was there too. In the evenings we dined out with friends and dined at the Iron Forge Inn. I think I had every kind of experience I wanted to.
That was one way to remind myself that I’m not as old on the inside as I am on the outside. Mostly kids were jumping off that cliff. I had some trepidation as I approached the edge and looked down. It looks much higher at the top than it does at the bottom. I just stepped off the cliff and went down. Once you commit to a fall, you have nowhere to go but down and experience the sweet relief of hitting the water, knowing that you’re in one piece. I think there is a metaphor in there somewhere. Walk over the edge and trust that you can jump. Just jump. Let go and commit to the fall. Eventually you will hit your destintation.
As I will always stubbornly point out, summer isn’t over. We have three more official weeks until the Vernal Equinox. For now the days are still longer than the nights and summer weather prevails. It’s hard to accept this as true summer though. To me summer is defined by one of my favorite activities – swimming. With the pools closed, it seems like summer can’t really still be going on. If you have your own pool, or have access to lakes and beaches that you can get away with swimming at in the off season, then I encourage you to keep the summer going!
I’m not too sad now. Maybe it’s because the summer was so long, because the weather was so perfect, because I had so much and missed so little. Maybe it’s because I have so much to look forward to this fall.
Fall means Paris. It’s hard to believe it will be less than a month until I leave for Paris. Kevin and I were walking to our respective offices yesterday morning and I said to him, “A month from today we will be walking the streets of Paris instead of the streets of NY.” We will be strolling down Champs Elysees instead of 5th Avenuen. It seems hard to believe. Paris went from a city I always wished I could visit, to an abstract idea I was planning to give myself as a 40th birthday present, to money in an envelope, to reality.
Bring on the fall! I’m ready for it.