Summer is a different animal around here. Instead of shops closing and population dwindling to skeleton crew, the pace accelerates to cyber speed and days pass in a blur of old friends, fundraisers, concerts, lobster, and too much wine. The roads, while covered in out-of-state cars, are not covered in snow and arriving at one event after another has no excuses––all are too good to pass up.
So there’s this can’t-miss-a-thing going on, while simultaneously missing what the rest of the world is up to. I hear there is a presidential election next year but I haven’t listened to the news in weeks, and though there are several newspapers lying around, I haven’t “had time” to read them. In Shamwana we lived in a bubble and heard only about huge events like killings in Kenya and conflicts in our region. Even though day-to-day life there was difficult, I found the absence of the information-barrage a relief. The only thing to consider was the day ahead. This summer is starting to have a similar feel, without the violence. I’m on an information hiatus and assume someone will let me know if we are being invaded or evacuated. It’s as if someone tapped a photo of the world a thousand times and my tiny spot is all that’s visible on the screen.
The most taxing decisions of the day seem to be which mountain to climb, or how to prepare the lobster for the current guests. Decisions like choosing health insurance or managing retirement accounts, aren’t fun and therefore aren’t invited to my summer consciousness. This seems so obnoxious as others here work seven days a week to get through the year, and since they still haven’t found anyone to replace me, pick up more shifts at my old job. A sense of guilt creeps in on occasion but I have a bouncer at the door. Go away you feelings of un-fun.
Yesterday I forgot the water bottle when we went on our morning hike. It was chilly when we left and I was only thinking of how good the thermos of coffee would taste at our breakfast picnic. The day got quickly hot, and though the coffee was good, water was in order. Later, we stopped to pick blueberries, tossing small handfuls into our mouths, satisfying our thirst and I thought what a good couple we were. We’re in sync. We fit. I thought about our glorious hikes, showing off the beauty of this island I call home, our little training regimen for the Alps, and wondered how my life could have gotten so good? Not that it wasn’t already a very good life, blessed beyond measure, but now it is so far over the top I worry I’ll wake up from the dream. That’s what being in love does, I guess, creates a rosy bubble where everything is good, and kind, and loving, and true. Can it last? Will a harsh reality set in and tarnish it with nagging about wiping down the kitchen sink, or taking out the trash? Or will we continue to look at each other and say, how did I get this lucky? I hear it’s possible.
It’s been so fun meeting each others’ friends. (Note repeated use of the word fun.) We both have such full lives I wondered how on earth we would manage to blend those from opposite coasts. It’s been easier than I imagined. My friends, skeptical at first, set out to make sure I wasn’t being duped or fleeced. Endearing, I thought. How sweet to see how they all cared so much and didn’t want to see me broken or hurt. They would have to pick up my pieces, though, so there was something of self-interest there. But it’s not long into the introduction before I’m getting thumbs-ups, and intense gazes above silent mouths forming the words, I love him! or He’s a keeper! (How fun!) And now the tables have turned and I am taken aback a bit to see his friends do the same. Loving, smart, generous people vetting me to evaluate my worthiness of him. Nothing is sweeter than this. On a woodland walk I was describing all the home maintenance looming at my house, and stated emphatically that I am only replacing stuff with materials that don’t rot. His friend replied, “Right. Including the man.”
I know there is a big world out there where suffering is rampant and injustice prevails and I will get back to working on that, I promise. But for right now, I want to be carried away by the Mozart Requiem while holding hands with the man I love. I want to look around the church at my talented community generously sharing the genius and believe nothing else exists. I want to gaze at friends who read poetry aloud at our al fresco dinner as we laugh at the funny lines and feel that all of it is love-making.