june gloom


It's here. June Gloom -- late night and early morning low clouds and fog followed by hazy sunshine in the afternoon. It's nice enough weather -- at least it's not tornado alley or a hurricane coast or (insert your local lethal meteorology here). But the bright haze makes me groggy, and all my senses seem to get a squint on. Sound is duller. Food fades to bland. If you look closely into the darkest part of my pupils you'll see little clock signs that say "back in 45 minutes".

It trickles into my attitude. I should have a license plate frame that reads "I don't get mad, I get sleepy." Annoyances get no passion behind them and end up rolling down the driveway into the gutter of apathy.

Okay, I think I just used up my monthly allotment of bad metaphors.

Not looking for engagement so much as simple contrast, I scan the web diaries to see who's painting today's pretty word pictures. And sure enough, there's the student down south, rollicking in her college days, blending a Byzantine tradition of belles and whiskey with all the fears and urges that come with emergence from an adolescent cocoon. On the other side of the planet another woman, nearly my own age, yearns to travel, leave a tiny town and break loose from those slow-growing vines of maturity and reasonableness that go unnoticed until they've wrapped around one's ankles.

They post their pangs for all to see, picking their words for color and juice. And I sit. And read. And remember the times when I lived in similar places, where shadows were sharp and warm night air carried distant laughs of friendly voices. There was less money then, and fun was made of pain. We were sensitive to the magnetism of a good time, a party next door, across town, or upstate. We sought pleasure for pleasure's sake. Fun was never had on schedule, it just snuck up and bit us right on the lips.

The nature of the fun has changed, different color, different juice. We were spontaneous back then because that's all we could be, our responsibilities were light. We lived our lives in sweeping campaigns for entertainment, expeditions to satisfy the wants of youth, those short needs that burn bright. They were blocks of time measured out by the houses we lived in, the girlfriends we had, or the play we were in.

Times have changed, of course, and I act my age now as I did then. I've traded the pleasures of adventure for the treasures of love. It's as simple as that.

The current trained response to such a declaration is something fit for a Hallmalarky Card, like it's never too late to be a happy kid, or some babble about my inner child, but there is at once a density and a fineness to my various loves now, unattainable in the fits and starts I suffered so enjoyably way back when. Double-edged words like commitment and settling and sacrifice are easier on my tongue, they don't sting or embarrass in a crowd of chums anymore.

So when I double-click into a college girl's beer blast it's a blast from my own past, to be sure. And my fascination with the arc of an Aussie woman's life is vicarious living, yeah, so what the hell. I see myself looking at these other lives, at what life used to be like, and at what mine might have become, and I'm happy. And I know it. Clap my hands.

Tornado alley was fun but, mid-year, mid-life, June Gloom is to be expected. The conditions are ripe. It's that whole nature thang, Life's Rich Pageant, baby, falling into place. The sky is bright, the afternoon sun is warm. Spring is winding down. Maybe all I need is a nap.

And the Fourth of July is right around the corner.


Today's Music:

"But Not For Me" -- Joey DeFrancesco WHERE WERE YOU?


Wisdom of the Day:

"No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why."

-- Mignon McLaughlin