Every time I change clothes I notice my tan line—which reminds me of this past summer. Already it is over—after waiting for it to arrive, it is now time to say good bye. Yet—
it was the best summer in a long time, for a good long time. It began with a bike ride. Trying to cycle around the south end of the lake, from Grand Rapids back to Chicago. But ended in snow and wind and a phone call from a hot chocolate shop. Come get me.
And on the way driving back into Chicago, after being rescued, I got a phone call letting me know that I’d been chosen for an artist residency at a dune shack at the tip of Cape Cod. Mid-May I was on my way to Provincetown. I had no idea of what to expect from a cold, unheated shack without electricity. What I got was sun. Lots of sunny days sitting out on a deck watching the ocean and birds flitting about, reading and writing and tanning. I came home refreshed with millions of words on paper. Some of them stories.
This summer I camped out, rode my bike to new places, grilled out at the lake, picnicked, did concerts in the park. It was as if my summer broke out of a shell like a bird or split the cocoon of winter like a butterfly. And got free.
At the very end of summer I went to Sweden where most of Scandinavia was having its best summer ever. There were days on end of bright sunshine and blue skies. I bicycled and backpacked and came glowing, healthy from being outdoors.
Now as the days are growing shorter and the street lamps turn on cloudy days at 4:30 in the afternoon, I catch a glimpse of my fading tan line—and remember. The best summer ever.