Sunday, April 25, 2010
Spring fever recall
Today, I stole a few minutes and reminisced.
My sweet boy and I were outside, minus one fishing Daddy, and we'd been blessed with some unexpected sunshine on a rainy-forecast kind of day. Marcus was playing contentedly in his sodden sandbox, and I moved a patio chair into the sun's rays and sank blissfully into it; I leaned my head back against the top of the chair, and I allowed my eyes to close and my mind to wander.
I'd applied sunscreen earlier today, so that beachy, oily scent wafted up from my own skin as I daydreamed. With that smell, with the warmth of our loving, fire-spitting orb, I thought back to all my sun-loving moments. In a second, I am on the roof of the chicken house at my parents' home with some girlfriends, a heavier coconut scent hanging over us as we try to entice rays onto our pasty winter flesh. A radio plays songs of the hour, and we discuss recently purchased swimsuits for our band trip to Florida, and venture into the premature discussion of prom dresses. The heat of the tin roof blurs my line of vision when I look across it at my nearly naked gal-pal neighbor.
Wait, now I'm in college and we're all on a weedy hill across the road from our dorm, stretched out on blankets and baking our whiteness in the first ultraviolet evidence of spring. This time I recall the exact music: Def Leppard's Hysteria. Remember that one? We are singing along, feeling so hip and cool, talking profs and parties and plans for summer.
Suddenly, I'm a teacher in a high school classroom, and the windows are open for the first time in months and butterflies are fluttering by them and my students are asking, begging: Please, can we go outside for class today? And I tell them, Yes, of course. It's a sin to be inside today. Let's have our sustained silent reading in the school yard. We all troop outside, books in hand, and some of the books will actually be enjoyed by the light of our kind star; other volumes will be held as cover in front of sleepy, dreamy faces that simply absorb and worship. I pretend not to notice either way because, honestly, I will be the latter.
And now I'm a student again, having left my summer class in a rush to hurry to the warm, wondrous beach at Lake Erie. The waves wash ashore, again and again and again, wiping away the horror of the school year, the stifling discussions of authors and styles that take place in graduate English classrooms. I watch the clouds, the water lapping at my feet, I take a cold sip and speak aloud to myself just to hear the words swept away with such absolute insignificance that I am reassured of and by my own smallness.
Then, I'm in one of many apartment yards; I have scurried home at lunchtime from my office job, and I'm sitting in a folding lawn chair, fish-belly flesh exposed, trying to proofread check codes for a catalog while I love love love the sun streaming down on me. The breeze is warm, the birds provide the soundtrack, and I doze before glancing at my watch and rushing inside to don again the garb of professionalism. Such a silly, pointless performance except for the need of income.
Ah, the sun. Provider of warmth, of rays, origin of photosynthesis, encourager of defeated, winter-dead bodies. It has been, and will be, an ever-present wonder for me as long as I grace this globe.