Summer sneaks up on us. It tiptoes in with the first 5:30 sunrise sometime in late spring, and it lies in wait with the green tomatoes, scrappy and promising. It doesn’t make a fuss; there’s no ruckus or fanfare. But slowly—so easy, instinctive, almost imperceptible—it takes over. With the first tentative jump of the thermometer, we slip off our long sleeves, our socks, our boots and pullovers and wool pants. The windows fall open; the blankets throw themselves back; and everything, whether by reason or reflex, warms and awakens. The onset of summer is, to hijack a (completely unrelated) quote by former U.S poet laureate Stanley Kunitz, “like stepping into the ocean when the temperature of the water is not much different from that of the air. You scarcely know, until you feel the undertow tug at you, that you have entered into another element.” Whether by way of a juice-heavy tomato; a flawless spicy-sweet peach; or maybe a black plum, shimmering darkly on a shady table, looking eerily like a sparkly lure at the end of a fishing line—when it comes to summer, we’re all an easy catch.
But between summer and me, it’s not so much a matter of luring and trapping: it’s more a mad embrace, half-hunger, half-hysteria. I may not be the quickest to feel the season’s tug, but when it comes, I throw myself at summer, and shamelessly so. I spit the pits out the window, lick avocado from the knife; I snare corn between my teeth and snag my fingers on the blackberry bush. I hold on tight while I can, because after all, I’m working with a finite deadline: just as quietly as it came, summer will go. It’s a system of catch and release, if you will. And if the calendar is to be believed, the release will come awfully soon."