Saturday, August 18, 2012
This Sunday I'm leading the circle for my home group, and the theme is a Rite for the End of Summer. We meet every other week, and for Sabbats and other holidays, so I chose this subject very carefully because as much as I love Autumn, I believe that Summer should be given it's due and not just dismissed like an old rag when we're done with it.
I am not a Summer person: I despise the heat and humidity and my creamy Irish skin rebels in the Summer sun, no matter how much sunblock I apply. I can dispel the romantic notion that women 'glow' instead of sweat within five minutes of stepping outside in temperatures above 80 degrees- I sweat. A lot. There is nothing attractive or sensual about it. That pinkish cast I take on after being out and about isn't exactly cute either: later in the shower I will burn and/ or itch and have to slather myself with aloe vera. Years ago, after a hike in Aspen, Colorado, I ended up in the ER because I thought I'd developed an allergic reaction to something I'd come into contact with on the trail. The intense waves of itching actually made me cry, and I was clawing myself bloody trying to scratch the huge red blotches that appeared all over my body. After eight hours in the hospital and a battery of lab tests,steroid shots and a dermatologist consultation, I was sent back to my friend's home with a large bottle of Benadryl and a diagnosis of extreme sun sensitivity. I wasn't even sunburned, I'd taken all the precautions and slathered on the high end sunblock made for that altitude and UV exposure that professional skiers used...The doctor joked that I was "allergic to Summer". I don't even own a sundress any more because it's an exercise in futility.
End of Summer has a little different meaning for me now. When I was teaching, it meant I was rushing around to get all the supplies together I would need for class. There was the headiness of 'back to school' and the thrill of meeting my new students. There were endless workshops and school administration meetings. When I began my teaching career at a little private school housed in a large church, it meant all of the teachers and aides going in a couple weeks in advance to clean, paint and decorate classrooms before the educational year began. It was a lot of work-but it was fun. Now the end of summer is defined by a break in the Southern heat and avoiding being run over by a school buses when the 'yellow plague' is at it's worst during the day. It means sorting through my wardrobe and storing the flimsy 'Summer' clothing and storing them, then unpacking the mid-weight 'Fall' clothes that will serve me through the coming coolness.
I "conjured Summer in", so why am I wishing it away? The other day I realized that my wishing aloud for Autumn to hurry wasn't exactly expressing gratitude for the goodness Summer had given me...and there has been goodness, truly. So I apologize to the spirits of the season, and hopefully my small token of appreciation is acceptable and gives closure to our journey this season.