27 April 2012

Summers of Green and Gold

"But these are days we dream about when the sunlight paints us gold and this apartment could not be prettier as when we danced up there alone. This tv is old, the color is fucked, do you see the difference in the shades? But the green is still close to green, my love and I believe we are the same. And we'll stay like this, all gold and green..." - Bright Eyes

(Me, Jeremy, and Art last summer)

Yesterday, summer officially began for me. After turning in grades and an end-of-the-semester lunch with the professor I worked for this semester, I walked home thinking about what this summer might be like. I thought about what summer felt like when I was younger, when it felt like complete freedom and endless days laid out before you where anything and everything was possible. I thought about how summer always means baseball and cook-outs. I thought about how for the first time in a couple of years, I won't be spending half my summer in Puerto Rico. And then, I thought about last summer...spending those warm summer days saying goodbye to one of my closest friends, my best friend's wedding, that fateful road trip with a watermelon named Mildred, running through the streets without a care in the world, and losing myself a little bit. 

Originally I intended to write a blog about my "porkiversary" (also known as the first time I ate meat in over five years); however, I decided a whole blog about my decision to eat meat would be as boring to you to read as it would be for me to write. But then I realized how in many ways, my "porkiversary" is intimately tied up in my memories of last summer and ultimately, my entire last year. The decision to eat meat again was about the removal of boundaries that I place on myself. And holy moly, if the last year has been about anything, it has been about confronting fears and charging forward as recklessly as I desire. Not only did I start eating meat again, but I ate all sorts of things I had never tried. I traveled to Europe for the first time. I wore my heart on my sleeve over and over again. I finally got my first tattoo. And really, that's just barely scratching the surface. 

So, here at the beginning of another summer, it feels in some ways like the beginning of a new year.  A year where I intend to continue to confront old fears and charge forward with reckless abandon. Instead of letting a fear of failure haunt me, I intend to keep moving forward to attain all those things I want in my life. I'll write my dissertation proposal. I'll send out a few manuscripts for publication. I'll write more grant applications so I can return to my fieldwork in Puerto Rico. I'll spend long days and late nights, drinking and laughing with my friends. I'll allow for the memories I've attached to certain songs become attached to other memories. And perhaps, even more importantly, I intend to let myself be loved (a la HappyThankYouMorePlease). Instead of fleeing the scene or choosing to waste my emotions on those undeserving, I intend to just let it happen...for the first time. 

At the beginning of every summer, I always play (often, on repeat) two songs that remind me of the seemingly endless days of summer-- Loose Leaves by Bright Eyes and Constructive Summer by The Hold Steady. Videos below. And with that...I'll raise a drink in the air to toast to all the lovely people in my life, as we turn green and gold on those sleepless days of summer. See you folks at the Cowboy Kewl. 

Loose Leaves- Bright Eyes

"So that's fine, yeah, come by. We'll take the afternoon off. We can kiss and undress. Or if you want, just talk. Because I've got nothing real, just empty space to fill. And you're my girl, I like your style. Just imagine all the time we could kill..."

"But I remember counting days down, until the year could be done. So I could scatter all my notebooks on the prep school lawn and disappear again into a summer's bliss of staying out and sleeping in and getting drunk with my friends. And that's gone and I know that it won't ever come back. I accept, I won't cling to what I had in the past. But life's a slippery slope, regret the steepest hill. Hope for the best, plan for the worse and maybe wind up somewhere in the middle..."

Constructive Summer- The Hold Steady

"We're gonna lean this ladder up against the water tower. Climb up to the top and drink and talk (this summer). Me and my friends are like, double whiskey coke no ice. We drink along in double time. Might drink too much, but we feel fine. We're gonna build something this summer. Summer grants us all the power to drink on top of water towers. With love and trust and shows all summer (get hammered). Let this be my annual reminder that we can all be something bigger..."

"Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer. I think he might have been our only decent teacher. Getting older only makes it harder to remember, we are our only saviors...."