Thursday, June 10, 2010

Seasons and Freedoms

What is it about the heat that makes me want to put on a house dress and eat popsicles, clean dirty toes with wet grass and chain smoke on stoops? The loveliness of summer is among me and there is nothing that makes me miss my so recent freedoms more than having to forsake lying in the sun for the exhaust heat on my daily commute to work. I have obsessive flashback memories of spending late mornings outside in summer doing not much else but watching the hours change the day to night, staying out all night till morning, and the power of knowing there are almost one hundred days that could be just as importantly unplanned and eventful.

People born in Southern California are said to live in an eternal summer. Since this is essentially true, save for about 10 days a year that a cool rain drives everyone indoors, Californians never really appreciate their summer. How can you actually understand something without experiencing its opposite? When I moved to Boston from California most of the East coasters asked why. While it certainly wasn't originally for the weather, understanding seasons has turned out to be one of my most valuable and life changing lessons.

It started off as a necessity. In California, checking the weather consisted of only glancing out the window. If there was sun, it was warm, clouds meant long sleeves. But in Boston, sun in December only meant sunglasses. I began to check the weather religiously, and I learned to savor the Indian summer and those last few days in October when you don't need to wear a coat. I watched the leaves change and laid them in the back pages of my school book so I could rediscover them later.

But even more magical than the season of Fall, is the beginning of Spring. Basking in the sunshine of 50 degree weather is a painful pleasure and yet everyone walks out in t-shirts and sandals that first day and it is kind of wonderful. Very rarely do I feel solidarity with the human race, but there is something about all the smiling faces and the exposed toes and the life on the streets, the sitting on stoops and outside cafes.

This inevitably spills into summer, where time seems to stand still. Summer has always been a season of contemplation, remembering, and exploring. Today I found myself wandering wet streets taking turns that led to I knew not where, and I happened upon a big yellow house that I had spied many times from the main street, but never took the time to discover, even though it puzzled me, looking more like it belonged in the middle of a Mexican valley than the heart of Seoul. As I neared it, I heard the faintly familiar squeals of children, and realized it was a day-care or school. Memories of summers at camp flooded my mind, and as I walked on, headed for work, I longed to be at the time between these two extremes, a fleeting moment of true and absolute freedom and possibility.

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Born and raised under the Los Angeles sun and smog. At sixteen spent some time in LA County Juvenile Detention Center, although never really learned her lesson. Moved to Boston for the classic college experience. Spray painted graffiti in the Paris Metro during six month stay in the Marais. Survived an ultra fabulous and frightening internship at Vogue Magazine while living at a nunnery in Hell's Kitchen. Lived a year in Seoul, a city which can only be compared to a Disneyland theme park. Written four hundred sixty-four words of an undisclosed masterpiece novel. Currently pondering her next adventure and also the meaning of her memoirs from an artist's loft in dirty Brooklyn.