The End of Endless Summer

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Under the Microscope
By Glynn Wilson

Yes, there was a time — not that long ago — when summer seemed to last forever.

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School was out and nothing seemed to matter except sleeping late, going barefoot in the grass — and time well spent in the boughs of a swing with a good book of fiction, a story to pass the time with, to stir your imagination about places you might one day see or feats you only hoped to accomplish.

Perhaps a world like that still exists somewhere beyond the rainbow, on some mirror planet like our own out there in the universe somewhere — or way down south where magazines about nothing are still printed with ink on paper and lapped up by people who like to spend their time waxing nostalgic about the way life supposedly used to be.

There is still something of an audience for that point of view. It is a form of escape for people who somehow missed out on drugs, sex, rock ‘n’ roll — and Facebook.

Yes, when I get disgusted and turn off the computer and try, I can still remember that world too. It’s not easy, but I remember making a vow one summer not to wear shoes for an entire season, so the soles of my feet would grow hard enough to run over rocks without flinching. I did it too, except for Sundays, when there was no escaping shined shoes and neck ties.

I remember spending all day long playing cowboys and indians in an old forest that seemed endless, and I don’t remember being much bothered by mosquitoes or ticks. I don’t know if there are just more mosquitoes in the world now. Maybe global warming is real and the world is just hotter. But I do know that I no longer enjoy the hot, summer sun or going outside to play. Maybe I’m just finally growing up and getting old.

It’s not that easy with Twitter and Google constantly making the iPhone beep, but if I just turn everything off, including the TV, I can remember learning how to swim in a creek so cold it made your hands and feet go numb. I remember learning how to paddle a canoe at summer camp — and sneaking a peek into the girls shower through a hole in the wall.

Do kids do that anymore? Why would they if they can get all the porn they want for free on the cell phone in their pocket? Nobody looks at the pictures of models in bras in the Sears catalogue anymore. Do they?

I do remember when tomatoes did not have hard, yellow centers, or at least I think I do. Do you?

I remember watching Walter Cronkite deliver the news at dinner time, when man first walked on the moon.

Since the U.S. Justice Department allowed Comcast to buy out MSNBC, however, and they fired Keith Olbermann, I find it hard to even look at news on television now. I get all my news from the Web.

I remember when America Online came out with their CD and you could read the New York Times over the Internet. I don’t read the Times anymore. I guess you just had to be there working for them when Bush and Osama bin Laden changed the world, but it is just not the same.

I remember when a tea party was something little girls put on to play “dress up” and “house” and pretend to be grown up.

When I dream and hope now my thoughts are nowhere near the beach in summer. I am somewhere in the mountains on a cool night by a wood fire, my dog asleep on the ground at my side. There is no radio, no TV, no Internet. Just an owl hooting off in the distance, and the hypnotizing sound of a babbling brook.

I just want to doze off to that sound, and sleep for a very long time.

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Jefferson and I by the fire at the Lake Chinnabee Campground in the Talladega National Forest

© 2013, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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