I distinctly remember a day in early May. I oozed from my bed in the middle of the afternoon and found the world ablaze with sunlight. It was warm, birds were singing and the only remnant of winter was the glowing whiteness of my flesh.

I went into the backyard to have an animated conversation with myself, which I tend to do in matters of great importance.

“It’s here,” I said, pacing somberly across the back lawn like Kennedy mulling the Bay of Pigs. “Riding season, beach season, baseball season. The season of bare feet and sunburns — of tents, campfires and occasional peeing outdoors.

“You need to be ready for it, self,” I said. “Get out of bed early every day in order to take full advantage. Waste of summer hours is a sin.”

Moved by this deep inner dialogue, I went back inside and put on some pants. 

The following day, I ignored my own advice. I slept until noon and when I finally crawled out of bed, it was August. I swear, it happened that fast. I have vague memories of Fourth of July fireworks and a couple of nights in a tent, but beyond that, summer streaked by like a missile.

Seriously, it’s freakin’ August. Back-to-school sales, tourists heading south and at least a few trees that are already changing color. If summer were a man, he’d be putting his affairs in order and shopping at the morgue for a proper casket.

If summer were a man, I’d chain his foot to a radiator so he could never leave.

At the end of each winter, we’re given an allotment of roughly 120 days to shake off the bad memories of darkness, cold and snow. That’s not so bad, mathematically. There’s a lot you can do in 120 days and nights. Go shark fishing, bro. Climb Mount Kineo. Body surf at Higgins Beach. Maybe go skinny-dipping a time or two.

But summertime moves like a rock skipping on water, and the big skips occur on key dates. The first is June 21 or 22: the solstice. After the solstice, the days start to shrink, and well-meaning but misguided people begin talking about the Fourth of July.

Time skips again on the Fourth and we all know it. Every calendar in the world shows that July has 31 days, but that’s bunk. The days following the Fourth hardly count at all. You go to bed with the hot stink of spent sparklers in your nostrils and you wake up to find that it’s August and – well, looky here! Summer has picked out a solid walnut casket with a gloss finish and adjustable hardware in which to be lain to rest.

Mathematically, we have perhaps 45 days left to enjoy the many glories of summer. As numbers go, that’s not so bad, but that damnable rock just keeps on skipping and the next thing you know, you’re wearing sweaters and gloves while picking apples and marveling at the plump pumpkins up at Wallingford’s Fruit House.

That may not sound so horrible to some of you (you people are weird), but it depresses the hell out of me. And so into the backyard I go again, to pace and to brood the way Lincoln brooded over the matter of his beard.

I’ve got to start getting up earlier. I’ve got to wrest into my control every remaining minute of glorious summer.

I’ve got to remember to put on pants before I pace in the backyard.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. Email him at [email protected], but please do not mention Labor Day.

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