Leaning Out of Now & Into Later

In August, I began thinking about winter.

It’s that great American lean forward out of now and into later. The lean that sells Halloween candy in August and airs winter holiday commercials in October. Buy your way to a better tomorrow!

My August thinking was akin to when you’re having a tasty treat - say a giant cinnamon bun - and midway through, mid-bite even, you start to think how sad you’ll be when it’s finished, even though there’s cinnamon bun aplenty still on the plate in front of you.

Much robs us from this moment and points us towards future moments that don’t exist yet. Only we can’t live in those moments, so we plan, arrange, buy for them, distracting us from the present that is everywhere, which somehow makes it harder to see, doesn’t it?

It may be a proportion thing, too. Summer serves us for three decadent months; a few days in, I can delay strawberry picking or beach-going because there’s so much time; I’ll do it next week. But if we only got two weeks of summer, I’d make sandcastles today, peach cobbler tomorrow, kayak Friday afternoon and picnic that evening after a snore in the hammock. I savor smaller amounts better than larger amounts.

Missing summer during it was doing nothing for my mood. So I looked for ways to land myself in the time I was in.

I did things I could only do in summertime: smell rosa rugosa growing along the sidewalk, eat as many just-off-the-bush blueberries as my stomach could stand, appreciate that dawn is long past when my alarm goes off. I made an August 2019 playlist to capture the feeling of summer, played it when nostalgia crept in for what I had in front of me.

Each gesture was an effort to situate my body and mind in this here and not that up ahead there. The future has plenty of champions, but the now has fewer. So sign me up - I’m right here.

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