This is the time of the year when I start to lament another summer “slip slidin’ away.” No, summer’s not over here in the Northernmost Caribbean… not by a long shot. But the signs are there. The days are shorter, and each day is a few degrees cooler. Mother Nature is signaling summer will end soon.
I know we only have just so many summers. So I always try making the most of them. For me, that means the warm weather, the beach, and warm water… snorkeling, SCUBA diving or just laying in the sun. Large amounts of sunscreen slathered on of course. It also means time spent laying on floaties in the pool… not really exerting much energy… just laying there sippin’ on a Margarita.
I do everything I can to make summer last as long as possible. Today, I went over to the beach. I kicked off my flip-flops and walked along at water’s edge. Sometimes the dying wave would splash on my feet. At first, I would run from the wave… sort of like a sandpiper. I would run away, but as the wave receded, I would run right back to water’s edge.
After a bit, I was happy letting the wave splash against my legs since the water is still warm. A big wave came in splashing even higher and soaked my shorts. I didn’t care. It was one of those things I often do all summer long, and it put a smile on my face. Nope… summer’s not gone yet.
I walked a long way down the beach. Once in a while, I would pass someone walking alone like me. We would smile and nod at each other, knowing we were both there just holding on to summer a bit longer. Every once in a while I would come along one of the beach’s great treasures… a shapely woman wearing a flattering bathing suit. It was all I could do to keep from staring. Hey… I’m just a guy.
The beach was almost empty, with only a few people scattered here and there. Hoards of summer tourists no longer cover the sand. The rows of blue, green, and rainbow umbrellas covering most of the beach have disappeared. Instead, there are now a few rows of the fishermen’s poles stuck in the sand along the water. No one was swimming, so the baited hooks won’t bother anyone… ‘cept the fish.
I don’t know if anyone ever catches much in the way of fish… at least not much they can eat anyway. But, I don’t think that’s the point. The fishermen set out several poles, first casting out the bait and then setting them down in holders. Then they sit in their beach chair and wait for something to tug on the line.
Right next to that chair is an ice-chest. While keeping an eye on the fishing line, watching for any sign of a nibble, they reach into the chest and pull out a beer. Sometimes it’s some other favorite beverage, but most often it’s beer.
A wise man once said,
“Feed a man fish, and he’ll have a meal that day. Teach a man to fish, and he will be a beer drinker forever.”
The “official” end of summer is this weekend. For now, that doesn’t matter. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a warm and sunny day. Beachgoers will return. There won’t be as many as before, but there will be some. As each weekend passes, there will be fewer and fewer coming to feel the sand between their toes and the sun on their skin. And soon… there will be none.
For me, I’ll be chasing the sun just the same. On the warm days, I’ll be back out on the beach. And when there are more cool days than warm, I’ll still take that walk along the shore’s edge when there’s just a hint of warmth. Then, when autumn is turning to winter, I’ll proclaim, “The birds have it right.” I’ll fly South to warm up for a few days… trying for one more glimpse of summer. But I can’t stay long.
No matter how much I struggle against it, the summer will slip away. I will be in a melancholy mood, wishing for the warm days and warm water. Another trip or two south will get me through the sting of winter till the next spring breaks. Finally… the days will get longer and the temperature warmer. I’ll be back out… walking down the beach, letting the waves splash my legs and soak my shorts.