This is going to be as obvious as hell. There’s not much I can do about that. It’s just where my head is, at the moment. It’s about how much more we tend to appreciate things as soon as we remind ourselves that they will all-to-soon come to an end.
I could see it very much in evidence around my town in the last week or so. In every green spot, around the lake, at every shop corner, you could see gaggles of young people desperately meeting up, shopping, laughing, joking. They were simply trying to extract the last vestiges of fun from their summer as it drew inexorably to a close.
It’s the same pattern I see every year. The summer holidays begin and, just as they do, the kids become omnipresent, all around everywhere. They are finally free, the world is now their oyster and they are going to do everything they promised themselves they would do when the summer finally came.
The summer seems to be some sort of an infinite thing, at that point. As a result, so many of the things they promise themselves will never happen. The sunny rendezvous, the nights under the stars, the cycle trips down to the beach, the lazy back yard quarrels. There is so much time to do it in that none of it needs to be done right now and so it never gets done.
A couple of days after the holiday has begun, there are no more gaggles of kids. The park is sunny but deserted. There are endless days ahead in which to sit out there and shoot the gentle breeze. Today need not be one of them.
There are other reasons for the vanishing, of course. People go off on holidays, to summer camps, to grannies for long biscuit-laden weekends. Others cannot get to their friends, the school transport system shut down for the holiday months. They are stranded in their rural homes.
Mostly, though, I reckon it’s the comfort of the illusion. The lovely feeling that this time will go on for so long that time no longer matters. When, of course, it does. It always does.
And then, quite suddenly, the infinite summer has all but gone. Without warning, the summer is a precious bauble again, rather than the over-inflated beachball it had previously been. Suddenly it is a thing to be clung to and adored and milked for every possible remaining drop of experience.
But here, boof, it is gone. The town green is once again swarmed with school-uniformed kids, hoisting their far-too-heavy schoolbags towards their labours. The thing that they took for granted as being eternal has ended. The only comfort is that Summer Holidays will come again, one fine day, and they will be wiser the next time. They will know better.
We’ll get together then, guys, you know we’ll have a good time then.
You don’t need me to say the moral of the piece. We all know it. It applies to everything in our lives, however tiny or enormous. What to do about it, though? What to do?
I think I might try to imagine that something is nearly over, I don’t know what yet. Then I might try to enjoy it all the more for that imagining. Perhaps I’ll try it with Autumn.
Autumn is here at last. I will see it again next year, probably. Let’s just pretend I won’t though. What can I do with it this year, now that it's here? I can’t stop it from slipping away. I can only taste it a bit more than I normally would.
Look, a golden leaf. That's cool, isn't it?