Summer always elicits a mixture of feelings. Anticipation being the most obvious. Add a dash of anxiety, sprinkled with joy and stilled with a slight undercurrent of sadness.
As a youth more questions than answers rode along as if somehow they might explain the turmoil of emotion. Life is quizzical at best. Filled with potholes and uplifting slopes. But always a shield of hesitation held out front as if that might divert trouble should it dare appear.
All I needed was a windmill, but I was unaware that fiction might actually step off pages and become part of me.
I would leave home after chores, which often took the morning and an hour or two of afternoon. Meet friends and enjoy the day. Or on occasion alone. Me listening to nature sounds. Me silencing the battering storm that life churned up in me head.
We built a log cabin the summer before with an ancient wood burning stove, enough bunk beds to sleep six. The roof was sealed with treated roofing paper, windows we scavenged from old houses on the verge of collapse. When completed we could seal the door and enjoy a rain storm.
Yet that summer my fifteenth, I found myself alone more than previous years. I could never quite understood why. So I went to the cabin and sat at the old time enamel top table with its rickety chair and ate lunch if early enough in the day.
The place smelled unused as it was. Like coming out of winter, sliding through spring was not enough to restore its former lived-in odors.
No I didn’t quite understand that time’ shimmering stillness summers past, was not the same that year. In fact that was the final year any of us used the cabin. Like having built it and used it for one year was the intended goal.
And the questions compounded into a crescendo of confusion.
Unbeknownst to me, that was the final summer of youth.