Breathe it in – saltwater and sea air – and feel the sunshine on your skin, almost too warm. Be (just be) without a care for a moment, a day, a tiny fraction of your total time. Give yourself this – this memory, this place. For now, right now, the rest of the world can wait.
A secret thing, three little words I need to hear from you. Maybe I’m selfish to want them, to feel like I have something to lose. So small, and fleeting, those three words. Out of your mouth and into the ether they’ll go, as if they never existed at all. But I’ll know.
“It was a beautiful wedding, my friend,” I say, as I work to remove bobby pins. Her hair falls around my hands in tendrils, finally flowing and free, and I add, “I’m glad to be here.” A weekend a year in the making, give or take, and three different locations, and that’s all I can think to say. I’m good with words at the wrong moments, it seems. But I know this one I’ll remember, regardless, as the end of the happy (happiest) day when my friend married her best friend by the water in Maryland.
The hush of the day. The slow and steady step of night, dawdling along like a happy child. The sleepy, changing slant of light on a pastel painted sky. Try as you might, in this world high on hurry and worry, you just can’t rush a summer sunset.
No more, no more. It is gone and lost to us now – the how and the where and the why. All that’s left there in the remains of a million Saturdays is a listless, wondering haze of woulds and coulds and shoulds: the regrets of age. And the rage, the rage, in flashes and waves that the end of days makes equal ash and bone of both the fool and the sage.
They say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” and knowing I can choose, I’d certainly rather venture, even if it means I lose. See, it so happens that I know a little something about nothing, that sad default, that frustrating non-finish line. Nothing: What I say when I can’t find the words. Nothing: What I do when the world is too much. Nothing: What changes when I don’t. Nothing, safe though it may be, just isn’t enough for me.
The longest of days, high sun, heavy heat, and the creeping feeling that a storm’s on the way. Summer greets the world, slow and hazy, fierce and free, all promise and no rules, except these: Be ready for anything, and bring bug spray.
Music maker, dreamer, driver, fearless motorcycle rider, and friend to everybody: That’s my dad. Dad, you gave me rhythm and time, and you made your story part of mine. You taught me how to live free, (but with responsibility) and to love fiercely (but smartly, too). Bold and kind and clever, you gave me the best parts of you. Forever isn’t long enough to be grateful. But it’s what I can do.
On summer days, my happy place is not a beach or mountain path. It’s so much more (or less) than that (depending on how you look at it). My happy place, when the weather’s warm and the days and nights are long and quiet, is by your side wherever you are. My happy place on summer days (and winter, fall, and spring days, too) is a whole world: me and you.