It was the twenty-third day of June, and it looked like summer finally wanted to begin its life in upstate New York. Solstice had been a bit of a bust; the weather decided that rain and sixty degrees as a high was a great way to celebrate the longest day of the year. But today the rays of summer simmered. The sun burned into my skin as it melted into the asphalt. Up until this day, it seemed so weak that I almost forgot it did that. Car stereos blasted rap and hip-hop from all kinds of vehicles. Hatchbacks and convertibles and brand new pickups playing DMX that seemed like a combination out of MTV seemed to set the seasonal mood.
It felt like it was time to break out the suntan lotion and the bathing suits, even though the scent of refuse that normally was hidden rose slowly like a man with a hangover. In the heat, everything moved more slowly, including the smell of pollution. There were hardly any people around, and in the parking lot, even the idle cars looked as though they were ready for a nice siesta. The day was sleeping with noon sun, yet the vegetation was still too fresh well-fed with spring showers to realize the season and display their midsummer droop.
This was a Monday, usually the first day of the school and work week, but it didn't seem like the calendar seemed to mean much. There were so much youth out I felt like a senior citizen in my mid-thirties. The streets almost looked like a sequel to Logan's Run, an appropriate theme in a movie season that seemed to be doing more reruns than anything else. There was more skin showing on strangers than I had seen all year; skin being revealed in a universal intimacy to say, yes, I warm from the sun too. The marvel of the human body is that no matter how much a person may think he is superior to another, he can't escape the fact that he sweats, just as his adversary does. Some things in life, like eating, sleeping, and suffering are part of the human condition. So is being too hot from the sun.
This was the kind of weather when the beaches in Baywatch seemed more like reality than some weird fantasy you watched on the little screen while you hovered around the fireplace trying to stay warm, hoping that this next blizzard wouldn't be the one that did your roof in. When it snows like that, summer feels like some grand cosmic illusion. Now that summer had arrived, the whiteness of the snow was like an obscure fairy tale.
Summer finally began on June 23, 2003.