home from summer camp

Photo by RAS Jacobson

Yesterday, my summer son landed back on planet Earth. He came from summer camp via yellow bus and was deposited in a parking lot along with his summer siblings. His voice, gone from three weeks of cheering at Color Wars and singing songs in the Dining Hall. He said this was his best summer yet. And next year, he wants to stay for four weeks. We spent hours listening to him talk about “camp stuff.” What he did, what he ate, moments he loved, moments he didn’t love. If there were any pretty girls. How everyone got along; how his counselors were. And much, much more.

Alas, we are going to have to kick into school mode pretty quickly.

First of all, the middle school is looming there in my backyard; we simply cannot ignore it. And he has a formal orientation later this week.

Yesterday, before he fell asleep, he pulled me down toward his face. “Mom,” he whispered. ” I love you, but I will miss summer.”

I understand completely.

He’s a summer person.

Today, we will find his locker and he will try out his very first combination lock. He will find his homeroom. He will look around, take in the landscape. Figure out the lay of the land.

And then we are back to the banal tasks, like shopping for new sneakers (he outgrew his while in camp), new shirts and pants (he outgrew his while in camp), and we need to consider things like . . .  food. Because while he was away, my husband and I didn’t set foot in the grocery store. (Which was divine.)  But, with boy back at home, we simply must return to some kind of routine. We   simply cannot continue to eat cereal for dinner. Or peaches and cheese. Or one tomato with salt.

The laundry is spinning as I tap out this quick blog. And my real life looms, too. I have to figure out the time line for my curriculum. Make a few copies. Invite a few guest lecturers. Line up my instruction day in the library so students know how to conduct reliable research in 2010.

Like my son, I  have always been a summer person. I sparkle and shimmer and shine in June, July and August. I love the heat and the water, from pool or ocean. How I used to look forward to the summer. Summer camp. Skinny-dipping. Getting a deep dark delicious tan. (In the 1980s we did these things.) A plain girl, I felt prettier in the summer. Transformed, I always fell in love in the summer. I married in the summer. My son was born in the summer.

But now, I feel autumn creeping up on me, wrapping her fingers around my throat.

It has been a wonderful summer, and I am so grateful to have everyone home together.

Yesterday, I was waxing nostalgic for the many wonders of summer, a friend informed me that she actually hates summer. That, in fact, it is her least favorite season. I was shocked. Horrified. How could it be? She explained her story to me, and I understand it — but it is a foreign concept to me. I’d like to hear from others.

In which season do you feel the most alive? Can you explain?

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