Time seems to stop in July. Have you ever noticed this? We take a deep sigh of relief that summer is here, that the calendar has allowed us to fall in love again. After all, it was in July when so many of our childhood memories were made: trips to grandma’s house, tubing down the river, getting chased by boy cousins with bb guns. OK, admittedly, that last one is probably not in everyone’s memory nor does it speak of the romanticism of July. But it’s in there. For me.
And then, there were those summer romances. The emerging fireworks always brought out the pop and fizzle beneath our skins.
So it makes sense that I also met my husband in July. It was the summer of 2003. We were 30 and 31 – babies. But we were the type of babies who thought they’d done gone and grown up already. We thought we’d been through so much life experience. We were aging travelers, and the clock was ticking for us to find a partner and settle down. But, of course, looking back, we were stumbling in the summer dark awaiting a light in the sky to show us the way home. Meaning, we didn’t really know jack yet about life.
What we did know was how much we wanted from it and from a mate. Our heart song was as loud as a billion screaming cicadas, crazy from the heat, eager for that one soul to hear our cry. And respond in turn.
This is also the month when we recognize that fall is coming. There’s just no stopping the impermanence of life. The stillness of being in-between one thing and another sets in. And this is what makes July all the more Sophoclean-tragedy-like. We know the end is coming. (Is this getting too dark? Just wait for the light.)
I think I always long for the end because of this. Because I know my love for July and the nostalgia that beads like sweat on my skin is temporary, I long for fall and winter even more. It’s like I want the intense romance to end because I know it’s going to. Romantic love always, always fades. There is no getting around this.
But as Anne Lamott always reminds us, there is STILL good news. My goods news to share is that marriage can sometimes feel very lukewarm. (Wait, what?) There are even patches of winter and snow, and sometimes those seasons last longer than we’d like. It’s true. And this doesn’t matter. The incessant worries about life don’t offer us much choice. So be it.
July always comes round again. Just last night, Eric and I had a rare date night. Even more rarely, we went to see a movie in an actual theater. How early 2000’s (in the life of our relationship, that is). We sat there holding hands in the dark as the screen lit up in front of us, offering just enough light to see each other’s grins, to spot the knowing glances.
It doesn’t take much light for us to find our way home. Just the smallest crack, the tiniest glimmer. A firefly can ignite an entire night’s sky.