Cicadas thrust their consonant-stealing calls into the air, cramming it up to the tops of trees. I try not to listen too hard, it’s maddening, there’s no space for thought between all those fragments of sound, layered endlessly and endlessly and endlessly.
The sun is there. It’s hot still if I let its gaze fall on me, but I’m not where it can see me, and the air is pleasant like the sea I swam in the day before yesterday; neither bath-water warm and cloying, or too cold, the chill that hooks little claws into the skin after I’m wet. It snicked my breath in a half hearted gasp before I went in (the sea the day before yesterday), but I had decided, and when I was in, I could have stayed in, leaning back and watching the water greenly distort the shape of my legs floating out in front of me (good legs; they take me places). I love the feeling of it on the soles of my feet. Especially that, because the beaches here are mostly broken shell that resist human weight, jabbing and stabbing upward, and usually I wear rubber-bottomed beach shoes, indiscriminate barriers between my soft feet and the outside world. But at the long, pale curve of beach where we were, the sea has ground the shells finer than elsewhere, or deposited sand to bury the shells, and there is less to offend the feet. So I made myself light, and then the sea took me up, no more significant than another bit of flotsam. – The sea’s secret, whispered in the waves that only creep on the sand: even you, o man, cannot bend me. We sigh with it, an outgoing breath as the body relinquishes its taut core; we have met with the unconquerable.
It’s been a long and hot summer. I loved and hated it. I love (love) always knowing the sun will be there. Maybe it’s my god, secretly, and I am a heretic against my winter birth. The sun makes everything alright, always, likes hugs in childhood it makes me feel safe. When I was a child I didn’t always feel safe, but the sun almost always was shining. Now it unsettles me when it disappears for weeks. I cannot rely on it in this place, and I long to be where it can be depended on again. So I loved this summer. Even the hate I said I felt wasn’t really hate, only a protest of the body labouring in the unblinking heat, shrinking into shrinking shade.
The cicadas are summer’s die-hards. Into summer they are born, and they resist the death of it. Raucous, inconsiderately consuming life while it’s theirs, I will sigh when their time is up, because summer’s time will be up too. Is up already, the calendar dictates, and the season already bends to it; this morning there was fog on the glass. But the cicadas and the sun and I conspire. Better know there’s life in her yet.