Can you feel it? It still lingers in the less evolved hours, but it’s begun to creep from a nocturnal existence straight into your morning coffee. And it will keep coming. The chill that raises bumps on your skin and the collar on your plaid shirt. The fresh freeze that descends from up high. You may have visited it this summer on an over-ambitious hike, and when you came across it you shuddered, and thought – Oh yeah. I remember you, and I don’t miss you. Please stay here, just a while longer. But it came anyway. It always does.
The hazy days of summer are on their way out. Damn, it was a good one, wasn’t it? As poetry and rock lyrics like to remind us, when the things we take for granted become out of reach, we realize how much they mean to us. After the apocalyptic winter we persevered, the arrival of our summer love was more anticipated than ever. But she kept us waiting a little, harder to get than we’re used to, until we became absolutely desperate for her. When she appeared, she was more beautiful and gentle and thrilling than we remembered. Now, we don’t want her to go. We grip tightly to our pool noodles and late bedtimes and afternoon cocktails in a cloud of denial. But we know she has to leave. Eventually.
The haze that she induced was not only a physical one, in the form of thick smoke that clogged our lungs and ravaged our forests. It was a mental haze. A product of letting go. Of letting our responsibilities and rules and ambition soften, just a little, just enough to fall into a fog of splendid relaxation. I’ll do that later. I’ve got time. It’s summer! Yes, have another popsicle, just get another one for your sister, too. Keep playing. It’s summer. It feels so good, letting things slide a little, doesn’t it? But you know what they say about all good things. So here we go.
Like the flick of the 2 am lights at The Northern, this isn’t going to be pretty. Reality doesn’t tiptoe in gently. Oh no. It crashes. Landing in our laps with a thud that shocks and sobers us. You survey your surroundings, bewildered by the state of it all. Man, that escalated quickly. Your house looks like a Tasmanian devil has been living there for a month – walls coated in unidentified sticky stuff, empty dishes and ice-cream sandwich wrappers covering the tables and downstairs couch, discarded board games and Uno cards littering the floors. Your kids are dirty and feral and slightly unrecognizable. They look taller. When did that happen, and when was the last time they were groomed? But the lights are on. It’s over. You can’t stay here.
And so we won’t. But rather than let those blues that can creep in with the cold at this time of year grab a hold of us, what if we looked at all the positive things change can bring. What if we gave summer a heartfelt goodbye and said, “See ya next year, sweetheart!” Because we know we will. Eventually. Now it’s time to take charge. Get that ambition back. Let’s do this. Let’s cannonball into fall, flags flying and water spraying in a flurry of courage and desire. We will give our hazy heads a shake and we will put on a sweater. We will not ask – why? – in a desperate, lazy plea for stagnancy. Instead, we will boldly proclaim, why the hell not?!
Evolution is upon us, so get out there and grab it. Join a club. Cut your hair and start wearing red lipstick. Wake up early and workout. Volunteer. Stand up, clap your hands together, and let the sound ring out for all those around you to hear. You mean business. And you will inspire everyone in your path with your actions. I promise.
The air has cleared. From the haze, good things will come. Summer’s fiery heat has cracked seeds that lay dormant for years on the forest floor. Waiting. Now they will sprout and rise from the ashes. Sprout. Rise. It is time for growth. The hazy days are over. Welcome back.