Book Trailer The Noble Train

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Missing the Longest Day of the Year

Summer is fast. So fast that the longest day of the year has come and gone. Now we start a steady march to the short days of winter. June 21st is the Summer Solstice and I wish I had marked the day with some sort of reminder that life is what John Lennon said "the things we do between what we are planning to do." Or as a poet once put it" the way we miss our life is our life." Sad but true. And now we must grabs these summer days before the shortening twilight comes down on our summer hiatus.

"I always miss the longest day of the summer," Daisy Buchannan said in The Great Gatsby. "It always makes me sad that I miss the longest day." Her melancholy of course presages the life she is incapable of enjoying. We can relate. Twittering and surfing and glued to computer screens while the hot days of summer play outside our window we are incapable of enjoying the best days of the year. Children know. They know that when school ends there should be a respite, there should be the promised months of slow days. The agrarian cycle is the reason we give them off for the summer and we remember our own youth in those long days of lassitude.

But even children now suffer from our wired hyperactivity. Scheduled to the drum beat of camps and sports and any other thing overworked and stressed parents can come up with to keep their children occupied--there is little of the summer days that Scout and Jem enjoyed in To Kill A Mockingbird. Summer was a time to do nothing. Boredom is the luxury of children in summer and mostly we find those moments in literature now. Member of the Wedding, Mockingbird, Tobacco Sticks, these children drowse away their days in the slowed time of little to do.

Unfortunately those summers do belong to literature now. Children are wired the same way we are and those moments of slowed time belong to a day when the personal moment existed far away from some cyber reality. The best we can do now is try and catch a moment of summer and remember those slow days and maybe slow down ourselves.

Maybe in the end summer belongs to our youth--when the longest day of the year was still within our reach.

Books by William Hazelgrove