Rainy Days and Mondays

We have to drive back to Baltimore today—Memorial Day weekend on the Eastern Shore dissolved into the outer fringe of a tropical storm cartwheeling off the coast of the Carolinas northward. Days like these remind me of when I was a child, weeks removed from heading back to school. Trips to the baseball diamond with my brother or on my grandmother’s sofa, devouring Nancy Drew mysteries and wondering why "The Love Boat" was such a bad show, even to my largely uncultured mind at the time, stopped, and so did time, as I sat motionless on the couch, trying to squeeze every second out of every minute with a kind of Zen mindfulness intending to make the world grind to a halt. I did not want to go back to school—I wanted summer to last forever even if, for all purposes, it wasn’t even fun anymore, just me lying around, bemoaning the eventual ending of an orange that still had a lot of juice left in it.

I am still this ruminating, time-halting worrier, preferring to press the last leaves of summer under glass rather than climb the trees and feel the sun on my face. Of course, the rain today doesn’t help. I’ve chosen to work instead, writing a book review and an essay for an online journal, tangible measures of my time that I can return to over and over again instead of my fleeting memories. And maybe that is why I write—to slow, perhaps stop, the unstoppable march of time, a feat not even the gods could manage. All while the rain keeps coming—before I was born, after I will die. And I will live on, too, in some way I cannot catalog. A scary but inevitable transition, one my mother has already made, my father, many of my relatives, some of my dear friends. That so many soldiers have made, on the day we celebrate their sacrifice. I know I should live to live, not live to die, but sometimes, trapped in the house, a holiday dampened by weather, I am reminded of endings. But not today, I promise. Today I will not count the wedges left in the orange. I will suck the juice, let it stick to my fingers, not worry about later thirsts.