Nick Bruel's Letter to Summer
I miss you.
Maybe you’ve heard – I wrote letters to all of the other seasons this past year. In some cases, I think I came off as a little… complainy. I wasn’t trying to complain. I was just trying to take on a familiar tone, because I know these guys. I know Fall with all its leaves. I know Winter thanks to all the snow (I think I might have inadvertently upset Winter with my letter this year). And I know Spring all too well with all its pollen. But, Summer, I barely know you at all anymore.
And I miss you.
I miss running in the waves of Sauble Beach. I miss digging holes in the sand up to my waist. I miss going to movie matinees on Tuesdays. I miss lying in bed and reading comic books, sometimes the same comic books, for hours. I miss looking for frogs and capturing them with my hands. I miss wandering through the forest looking for treasure. I miss riding my bicycle with Robert along trails that didn’t really exist.
Summer, do you remember that time when Robert and I found that immense raspberry thicket? We brought two buckets with us and spent the entire afternoon treading as carefully as would could through those prickly vines picking the most ripe, delicious raspberries anyone had ever eaten. We walked out of there with torn clothes and scratches all over our arms and legs, but afterwards we sat down and ate those raspberries with the relish of two boys who worked very hard to earn them. We ate one bucket of those raspberries on our own. The other we gave to Robert’s mother, a pie genius.
That was a good day, Summer. But with every passing year I remember it with less and less clarity. I didn’t know then, Summer, that you would change so dramatically, that I would barely recognize you anymore.
It used to be that Summer was my time off. No school. No homework. No tests or exams. I suppose all of that is still true, Summer. But now I work. I don’t have school anymore, but I have an office. I don’t have homework, but I have deadlines. I don’t have tests, but I have a constant flow of responsibilities that need my attention at all hours of the day. And I am exhausted.
I work in Fall. I work in Winter. I work in Spring. And I work in Summer. I work all year now, and in this way you are no different than any of the other seasons. I find this a little sad. Don’t you find this sad, Summer? I do.
However, I have one consolation, Summer. My daughter Izzy is seven years old, and for her you, Summer, mean a lot. Summer means going to camp and playing all day with her friends. Summer means going to the beach in Naples, FL, playing in the waves, and digging holes in the sand up to her waist. Summer means going to movies in the afternoon. Summer means riding her bike on the well-defined bike trails near to our house. Summer for her is a little different than the ones I remember but the spirit is still there. I can see her Summers through her eyes even though my perspective is blocked with obstacles. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t have work to do. Even on the easiest days, I still grow fearful that if I don’t fulfill my responsibilities they will pile up on me and crush what little I’m still able to enjoy about you, Summer. But Summer still exists unconditionally for my daughter, and it will for many years to come. That is refreshing. And that is my only consolation.
So, keep up the good work, Summer. I wish you and I could spend more time together. We had fun, didn’t we? Yes, we did. I’ll try to wave to you as our paths briefly cross in the next few months. In the meantime, please take good care of Izzy.