Monday, July 14, 2014

Word of the Week - 19

Art by Joseph Mugnaini, illustrator of many Ray Bradbury stories.

Word of the Week: SUMMER

The wide, free days of childhood summers glow with their own light.  The sun rides higher in the sky, convincing us that sleeping in is a wasteful act, for who would choose to miss the hours of deep morning shadows, the long-absent joy of shorts?

Reading and summer remain forever paired, beginning with a weekly stack of picture books from the library, evolving to whatever we wished to sample from the family bookshelves.  It was the season in which I discovered Carson McCullers and for years re-read southern writers then, aligning myself with the heat from their fiction.  The temperature also matched tales from Ray Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man."


It was a warm afternoon in early September when I first met the Illustrated Man. Walking along an asphalt road, I was on the final leg of a two weeks' walking tour of Wisconsin. Late in the afternoon I stopped, ate some pork, beans, and a doughnut, and was preparing to stretch out and read when the Illustrated Man walked over the hill and stood for a moment against the sky."

"...Though it was a hot late afternoon, he wore his wool shirt buttoned tight about his neck. His sleeves were rolled and buttoned down over his thick wrists. Perspiration was streaming from his face, yet he made no move to open his shirt."

"...The pictures were moving, each in its turn, each for a brief minute or two. There in the moonlight, with the tiny tinkling thoughts and the distant sea voices, it seemed, each little drama was enacted. Whether it took an hour or three hours for the dramas to finish, it would be hard to say. I only know that I lay fascinated and did not move while the stars wheeled in the sky."

I doubt if statistics support my belief that there exists a time of year in which imagination grows richer, sprouts, then broadcasts its seeds which take root and repeat the process.  Space and time, two Bradbury themes, describe summer as I knew it in childhood, as I know it now in retirement.  I give thanks for the luxury of a wandering mind, never lost but now able to poke along unexplored paths I had to pass up when real life held me more rigidly in its grip. 



Just Jen said...

Wholeheartedly agree ...reading and summer go hand in hand. I have strong memories of reading into the wee hours having to go to bed before it was dark. Also lying on the floor in the afternoon to keep cool w/book in hand ... or a pack of cards playing solitaire by the hour.

Summertime. The living IS easy!

Erin in Morro Bay said...

Yes, that glorious morning in June when one realized that " the summer stretched ahead like a vast ocean and September was forever away" - Elizabeth Enright - "Gone Away Lake" - a book I've re-read almost every summer of my life.

susan t. landry said...

wonderful, marylinn. summer is a gift anywhere, but here in Maine, it's a reason to live.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jen - Lots of afternoon reading, even sitting in a wading pool as a teenager to read, keep cool, get that so-important tan. Uncommitted time is a lovely thing. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - I am now under the spell of "Gone Away Lake" and know my summer will not be complete without reading it. You librarians always have the inside track, the rest of us just catch up. Thank you for this. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. Knowing how late and short your summer is and seeing your photos, I understand it is a more significant matter than here in California. We are spoiled and most of us admit it. Even with that, it really IS a separate chamber in which we get to do things differently. My son's stepmother reported of an outdoor screening on Saturday night of "Goldfinger" at the Hollywood Cemetery. Well, of course. xo