The Summer Tease

12 Jan
It did not feel like the Winter Solstice in Santa Monica. The early sun was beating overhead and when She breathed, it was so easy to take a gulp of fresh sea air, almost as if She could inhale forever and forget that winter was ever a season. Here She felt free to rollerblade near the beach, leaning into the curves of the path, getting lost among the young families teaching their children how to ride a bike and the runners gliding through another sunrise on the trails that lead to Malibu.The sun glimmered on Her cool face, warming it until beads of sweat appeared on her brow. Scarves and Uggs and layers were ubiquitously peeled off to reveal skin and tank tops and the unmistakable scent of sunscreen lathered thick. It was a dichotomy. Summer in winter. Something felt off and yet so perfect. It meant a new season. It signaled exchanging the old for new. The heaviness of winter forsaken for the promise and lightness of summer. Would it last?

While the rest of Her surroundings easily masqueraded winter, the ocean, which She dared to dip her toe in it, could not lie. Her foot was submerged in an icy remnant of a wave but just as soon as She dared plunge it in, the shock caused Her to jerk her foot away, as if caught in a trap. Still, it was nice to pretend that summer was upon Her. Winter had not been kind thus far. It meant memories and loss. A broken relationship. A sad roommate. A Christmas that would shortly be glossed over because too much had happened this past year to really make the effort to celebrate wholeheartedly.

And yet this burst of summer energy, this secret unearthed at the beach among the graffiti artists of Venice and lone runners and Herself, was a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem. She thought back to the windstorm several weeks earlier. It had rained sheets. The windows shook with such a fury, nearly rattling out of their frames. They say winds reached 100 miles per hour evidenced by the 500 trees that were uprooted that night only to be toppled over like a full Monopoly board after an encounter with a toddler. Mother Nature had wreaked her havoc and the results equalled the Mayor declaring a disaster area. Driving was treacherous. Power lines were felled.

She wondered back then if this was a foreboding signal for worse things yet to come. Would winter settle here and stay? She remembered the biting, shallow breaths from winters of her past in Chicago during days when 30 below was the norm. Breaths that stuck inside the tight place in her throat where freezing air met hot droplets of steam, crystalizing instantly. Winter then was a long bony finger sticking out of a cage, tauntingly. It was silent but in those silences were long depressions. Unanswered questions. She did not want to go back.

California meant kept promises. It was sunsets and moments not missed, but experienced. Similarly, Winter solstice meant change was coming, but maybe not in the way she thought. Shifting seasons was always a bit unnerving in the beginning, but sometimes this became a welcome gift. A newness. The oldness not lingering, but growing into something different and good. Full of potential and possible joy. And so She decided in that moment when the seagulls were flying aimlessly over the palm trees and the scent of eggs and bacon were wafting toward her, intermingling with the sea salt, that she was happy. “Winter solstice, come all you want,” she thought. “While many see the day with the least amount of sun, I’m reminded that every day after will mean more and more light until summer isn’t just teasing me, but it’s real.

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