In the depth of winter I finally realized that within me lay an invincible summer.
This quote I came across today on a board inside the powerhouse arena bookstore/multi-use space/my preferred location to buy cards… and it struck me. First, that the sign was inside. It was even too cold for a sandwichboard sign to be outdoors. Something used to draw people in was just there among the books, knowing that people would be entering just as a form of warm refuge if nothing else, and yet it was still there, humbly offering warm inspiration. The thermometer today read -1 when I woke up. -1. And somehow, in this absolute inhuman climate, do we seek and find summer and hold on to it. How do we react in a way that instead of being debilatatated, isolated, stagnant, that we keep moving. The air may be -1 but feels like absolute zero. Where all movement ceases.
Last night I found myself standing outside with a friend, smoking a cigarette in the frigid air, hardly able to hold my cigarette let alone inhale, here both of us having given up cigarettes for lent and yet still standing outside in the windy tundra, smoking. And as I shivered and wondered what I was doing, and asked aloud what I was doing, and then, “where is everybody?? They’re inside, why aren’t we inside.” He responded, indirectly to my inquiry with “I love this, silence. It’s completely desolate in this busy street…” And with that, I inhaled- summer. found.
I awoke this morning, late, for my jury duty, clambering to get dressed, receiving a missed call and voicemail from a mysterious NY number that of course I dismissed. I don’t answer calls from strange numbers. Not because of inconvenience but because I have too many things I’m running from. Collections agencies, ex-boyfriends, bar tabs, monsters. I ran out the door, waited for the G that had become the F that became everyone wondering what the fuck was going on but automatically boarding the train anyway in silent, paranoid solidarity. I walked swiftly to the Supreme Court house, late. i got in the security line, late. Removed my gloves coat scarf late late late and dropped them all on the conveyor belt and looked to the uniformed guard, waiting for my cue. LATE.
“Hey, aren’t you in my jury?” The white-toothed cop smiled at me.
“I am! I’m so sorry. I’m so late,” I cringed.
He smiled wider. “Judge called in sick. my dear, you’re free to go.” What??? “What?” “You don’t have to be here.”
I was confused. “I’m gonna go through, let’s talk on the other side.”
I grabbed my cost gloves scarf. …err, late? “So wait, does this mean I have to go to work?”
“No ma’am. Since you showed up you count as venue here for the day. I’ll make sure it’s taken care of.”
I put down my items. “High five me right now.” I said, with my hand already raised.
He walked me over to the desk and took down my jury number and I couldn’t believe what was happening. “What are you going to do now? Don’t tell me you’re going back to bed.”
“Hell no! This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened.” I skipped out the door with my lunch packed in my bag, already showered, full mug of coffee in my hand and looking at the onset of an absolute gift-‘a free day, all mine. And I entered the freezing cold air and inhaled and smiled- SUMMER.
a story to warm your chilly little winter hearts, based on the realization that summer, after all, is never gone. It isn’t waiting. It isn’t dependent on the phases of the moon or the tilt of the earth’s axis or those first glimpses of human skin in public or the neighborhood restaurant finally opening its windows, setting tables out on the sidewalk. Summer is laying dormant, but not for 9 months. It’s waiting for a spark. It’s looking for an awakening. It isn’t a season but a significance, a calling. An opportunity, a surprise. An inhale. A grasp, an outstretched hand, a warm embrace.