It’s another nice day here. The sky is calm and the birds are chirping. Some water from the sky would be nice, but that’s an opinion only shared by the farmers, me, and those birds. My Hydrangeas are nearly in bloom. I’m excited to see them again. I planted a few Hydrangeas at my office and they’ve already found the time to bloom and be eaten by the deer that stalk these mean Williams Bay streets under the cover of dark. Come to Nantucket, they say, we have all of the Hydrangeas! Look, some shingles and Hydrangeas and beaten up old shingles. I’ve been looking around here, and we’ve got all of those things. Big deal, Nantucket.
In spite of this delightful sky and these big, white blooms, I can’t help but look forward. It’ll be football season soon, someone just said. 55 days until College Football, written so boldly over a picture of a running back from some school diving into the end zone. I want to resist this. I want to think that football is a silly sport that I don’t even like, and fall is a time that I know will come at some point so why long for it now? Why, under these bright skies and with so much summer still in the tank, do I think about how lovely that first winter fire will be?
It’s July now. My son turned 15 last week. My dad will turn 74 next month. Or maybe it’s 73. Who could know? My uncle turned 60 recently, I think. My cousin got married in May and another cousin announced his engagement in June. I saw a license plate in town the other day, a recognizable plate that I’ve seen in this little town for the entirely of my life. I hadn’t seen the plate for a few years, so when I did notice it I focused on the driver to see if I recognized her. Sure enough, it was the lady who owned that plate when I was a kid, except she wasn’t the woman I remember. She was old and gray, weak in a way. If she’s that old now, so much so that she looked like maybe driving a car wasn’t the best idea, then what does that make me?
Half of the cars driving past my office this morning aren’t even cars. They’re trucks, big ones with trailers toting lawn mowers and weed whips and blowers and gas cans. It’s Wednesday and they’re mowing lawns. They mowed yesterday, too. Last weekend I showed a house in a neighborhood where I used to mow lawns. I looked at one house in particular and remember the owner coming out while I was mowing. He came out to yell. The lawn mower, he insisted, while leaving behind nice striped lines that I was rather proud of, was also pushing the grass down before it cut it. The grass was matted, sort of swept in the direction I was mowing but not entirely cut. As I drove past that house last weekend I stopped and stared at the exact spot that this old man violently raked his leg against the grain of that grass. He was pushing the grass up to show me what I wasn’t doing right. He was right. I had been doing a less than perfect job. But that old man is dead now and his lawn is being mowed by someone else.
My wife said that her days pass slowly. That summer lasts too long. That time doesn’t march nearly as militantly as those fancy-pants neighbors. But I beg to differ. This morning I was scrolling through the photos on my phone, and found myself looking at 2015. What a year that was. My children were little, still children. We had pictures from vacations to the beach, trips to the ski hills, and afternoons spent splashing under this bright Wisconsin sun. I looked much younger in those pictures than only three years should look. But I thought about the pictures from this year that I’ll be looking at in three more. How much younger I’ll look today. How much less gray. My son will have graduated high school by then and my daughter will be begging for her first car. Things will be different then, and then is right around the corner.
That’s why today I’m just going to be. I’m going to work and I’m going to play. I’m going to sand down the patio chairs that my wife decided to buy from the resale shop up the road a bit. I’ve been painting them green, like a Paris Patina, apparently. Later, I’ll swim or maybe I’ll fish. I might see the old lady with the license plate or talk to my dad about what it’s like to get old. I’ll drop my daughter off at sailing school, and I’ll bring my son with me to the gym and afterwards we’ll all stop at the lake for a swim. He benched 135 for the first time last week. There’s nothing I can do to stop this fast progression of time, but I can stop to enjoy the unimportant moments once in a while. The moment isn’t some far away vacation. Some dreamt of goal. Some day far into an uncertain future that we’re foolishly counting on. It’s just today, and it’s another sunny summer day and we should be swimming.