Meditation: On the Endless Summer

Meditation: On the Endless Summer

Shannon Holman
Jul 23, 2006

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

When I was a child, summer was miraculous, a time outside of time. Though the wait for it was interminable, once arrived, the season seemed endless. From its midpoint, right about now, it was impossible to see the twin horizons of school, May's drone and September's fresh pencils. It was all peach ice cream and Slip N Slides as far as the eye can see.

Or at least that's how I remember it from the vantage point of adulthood, when summer's big bell curve has been flattened into the tiny peaks of weekends, or worse, "working weekends." In memory, the scraped knees are elided, the ice cream never fails to freeze, and Childhood Is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies.

It's all well and good to put away childish things—my allowance is a lot bigger now, and I haven't been grounded in a good long while—but there's something to be said for digging out and dusting off our childish things every so often.

Which is to say, I've been playing with the tops. E. brought back from El Salvador, and I've discovered something amazing: tops are time machines. We're blessed to live on Cortelyou Road, one of the most diverse places in the city, and when we spin our tops on the sidewalk in front of the library, our neighbors from all over the world stop what they're doing to come play with us. No matter what they call it ("Trompos!" "Tupes!" "Carambola!"), they invariably say the same thing: that they haven't seen a top in so many years, since they were children in their home country, and they probably don't know how to spin one anymore, but would we mind.... And in an instant our careworn neighbors are giggling and showing off, cavorting and rejoicing, restored to the people they were before love or war or money brought them here.


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