6/24- This Summer's Solstice
When I was in college I back packed across Europe. One day I was talking to someone from France and they said, “Americans hate Sunday because they have to go to work the next day, and we French love it because it’s the day we spend with our families.” He was using that as an example of how France was superior to the USA and I had to agree with him because I was smoking his hash.
I thought about that conversation this week because it was the first day of summer, and historically the first day of summer is historically my least favorite day of the year.
Through no fault of its own. In fact it should be my favorite. I love summer, I love hot weather, I love not going to school. I love lots of day light and fireflies and the smell of sun tan lotion in the morning. I don’t love pools so much because people pee in them, but I still get the appeal. I get all of it. I’m a Leo, I like being tan, summer is my time.
So why do I go all emo on the solstice?
Because it’s the peak. First day of summer is the longest day of the year which means it’s the beginning of the long slow decent into winter. No matter that I have months of months of sunshine ahead of me, the fact that the days are slowly going to get shorter is enough to make me spend the solstice moping about, sad about what is to come.
And in case you are reading this blog 100 years from now- winter was the time it used to be cold.
This year however, I didn't feel that way. I think I have cancer to thank for that.
One of the side effects of chemo is that it has radically altered my perspective. For example: today I feel amazing. Today my brain is sharp and my fingers are typing well. Today I don’t feel nauseous or nervous. Today I feel totally normal.
Next week, however, I won’t. From the first flush of saline on Wednesday to the last of the chemo brain on Monday, it’s an unpleasant six days. I can’t spend the eight I feel good worrying about the six I’ll feed bad. I just can’t. So I don’t. The anticipation can be almost as bad as the thing itself.
This has thankfully spread to other areas of my life. This past Wednesday, the first day of summer, I didn’t worry about the cold and darkness to come. I just sat on my grandmother’s front porch with my mom and enjoyed the day. I listened to the Cubs game by the pond, watched the fire ants scurry around. I breathed in the fresh cut grass and waited for the two egrets that nest at the farm to fly smooth and low across the pond.
Winter will come whether I worry about it or not. So will chemo. So will Mondays.
Man it’s annoying when the French are right.