I can’t remember when summers became summers. When they weren’t just the long, stifling days that marked the gap between school years, that bridged the months when my mind quieted and the heat languished me with the pretension of sitting still.
When summers became a force, a time, a thing to be held, adored and worshipped. When the season that brought beads of sweat to my temples and browned the edges of my memory with tanned, heated nostalgia swept me and lodged itself in my throat. Because summer was never meant to be swallowed, to be digested – rather it was meant to fashion itself as a weighty reminder of everything I should do, can do, will do and won’t ever.
There’s never been a time more alive, that set my feet on fire any more than when I pressed them against the scorched earth. Because summer is too hot to feel, it keeps you on your toes. Its indolent sedentariness presses me onward: to do, to strive, to be – and never to yield.
I’ve predicated myself on these vows, obeyed summer as the reflection of my youth, delivered it from its autumnal devastation, crystallized it into an entity that reaches far beyond the months that squeeze it within the vapid differentiation of time.
Summer has burned me. My skin, my nerves, my desires to add ellipses to every adventure…to never be done even when it all seems inevitably finished. To hold off conclusion with the breathless reminder of another, steeping in the not so distant future, lurid and vibrant.
I remember detailing my summer on pages as it passed beyond me, stilted in the crisp filtered air conditioned window, divining my emotions to the skies as if transcription were the only method of memory and not the fervor of experience itself.
And I’ve been caught between the bevy of experience and words, slumped between when fancy is lost to the fallacious tongue of whispered time and when I have pushed my cursor to the side longer than I have breathed deep in the open air of the bloodshot days.
I’ve mediated my art with its muse – life – and summers have kept me to it, with the short bursts of gorgeous vitality I am forced to suffer hibernations of extreme creativity.
Summer is for the living. Gathered at your legs as you press into the icy waters, braving waves and the sharp rocks under your toes so that you may retreat, when the sky goes grey and the leaves burn red, and disappear to the hovel of your own making, to the keys that strike purpose to the monstrosity of memories you have incurred for the sake of this black type on white page. For when you live to write or write to live, words stilt and catapult everything you’ve kept in you, all the things you’ve let summer burn into your skin...
Pretty speech has always punctuated the way I intuit the world. And I wonder why this is the only medium I understand, the only means through which expression is beyond stuttered intimacy.
Summers aren’t summers anymore. They’re crushed into any and every moment of extreme passion that drives you to believe that this is a life worth fighting and writing for.
Written by Kaitlyn Cawley
Photos by Alyssa Aparicio