Monday, June 8, 2009

Imaginary Summer.

“Most of the dandelions had changed from suns to moons” (Lolita, 73).



Despite all manner of things pointing to the beginning of the hottest season, beginning with the date and season's first sunburn,it's not summer yet. The temperatures continue to hover around the 70s, occasionally sneaking up to the eighties if you're standing in the sun, but even most days it's just sitting there in the 60s and being terrible. Usually I like rain, or those hazy over-cast days where it threatens to pour all over the place but doesn't. For once, I want summer so badly. I've noticed it's something a lot of bloggers—at least those in the parts of the globe who are experiencing the weather shift to warm at the moment—are all vaguely posting about it.

There is a certain kind of summer that we all dream about and attempt to construct out of the ethereal, fusty memories of all the summers past. It's the kind of environment that seems really dreamy, built on lethargy and languid, slow-moving, snapshots of bike riding, picnics, sun-umbrellas and christmas lights, the moments before and after thunderstorms, hair sticking-to-the-back-of-your-neck and freckled, sunburned noses. For me these romantic images of the season that makes almost literally wilt into a shriveled, dehydrated and sweaty flower are idyllic at night-time. I always remember sitting up in my sweltering attic room with christmas lights on the ceiling eating melted chocolate and peanut-butter and listening to music with BFFs. Or sitting outside, in some weird conglomeration of bathing-suit and cover-up trying to decide if it's still hot enough to hop in the pool. Suddenly, I wouldn't mind it. I would love nothing more than to be sitting in the car (preferably passenger seat—I hate driving) with the windows open and driving somewhere. I even want that suffocating humidity and heat that so frustrates and ruins the things I normally don't spend two seconds worrying about (ie, hair and melting makeup).


by beehives


Irish Hare

It seems that every blogger has their own specific version of this summer, but it does seem that there is something in common. Snobby disdain for it though there may be, I'm certain that deep down everyone wants the kind of bug-buzzing summer of The Virgin Suicides (book or movie, and of course, minus the obligatory tragedy). Part of the fantasy of this comes from the kinds of things we imagine we'll wear. Floaty, white dresses and pretty little sandals, funny little blouses with patterned or high-waisted shorts, mimicking photos of people going on bike expeditions and wearing all kinds of hats and silly shoes and sunglasses. A chambray dress or something midriff-baring, something that I wouldn't ever even think about in any other weather, floral prints and hair in wispy braids. Like all the summers in those Francesca Lia Block books, where the girls lie around and everything is beautiful and lyrical and a little bit sinister.

That's sort of the problem—this vision of summer that we all long for is somewhat ideal. Saturday was one of the bigger street festival events in my city, and my work had a table set up outside. There I was, standing there in my denim romper and straw hat, oblivious to the fact that the back of my leg was being fried into crispy, red-raw, oblivion. It was hot, and sweaty, and I ended up with that line on my forehead from the hat, and a distinct inability to get the latex glove back on my hand in order to pack up the baked goodies. Even now, days later, I stupidly have an idealized feeling about it. In retrospect it doesn't seem that bad—no summer does, no matter how bad the sun-burn. I don't do well in the heat, and yet I feel the need for it for once. This yearning (oh god, I hate that word) is something new for me. Especially since my regular trips to the beach have waned in the past few years—because the beach is the only place where this kind of oppressive heat is delightful and perfect.


The Virgin Suicides, 1999


by abless

53 comments:

  1. Lovely! I'm not a summer girl at all (I live in Southern California and summer starts around here in about January), but I've always thought that I would be if I could have a summer filled with lace cotton petticoats, careless braids in my hair, and sweltering nights filled with fireflies. There's something about the idea of that that appeals to some part of me. I suppose it's how magical it all seems, like a real life fairytale. You did a beautiful job of putting it into words. I've been reading your blog for a long time now and just love it.

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  2. This is a brilliant reflection on summers and I can really relate to it! Memories of summer seem to me much more intensive than the ones from other seasons, the heat, the light and the colours for example. (Quite random but: My word verification is kater :))

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  3. i like this entry. you are right about bloggers (and people in general) romanticizing summer, but i dont mind that. it's nice that the good things stick in the mind.

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  4. This post was a perfect summer read. Great description of the things most loved of this merciless season.

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  5. You captured my summerdays so well with this post! Months before the summer starts I imagine myself lying in the grass for days and days and it all seems to be so perfect in those dreams. But when I finally do get the chance to that I come home covered in bubbles (allergy :S). Pffff I hate those bubbles

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  6. I totally understand about the weather, though the cooler weather has been nice. But now that it's June I'm really craving those summer nights when it's finally cool enough to go outside and you don't need any kind of jacket.
    Bike rides, picnics, and how everything smells outside after its rain is what summer is all about.

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  7. We really do post a lot aout our ideal summers don't we. I know I've caught myself doing it on several occasions this year.

    I wish the weather here was that cool. Arizona temperatures during June and July are not picnic temperatures. Not at all.

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  8. Parapluie: Sometimes I get really excited and lol by myself when the word verifications are relevant to the post or are funny :D They are my favorite, I am glad they're not just random letters anymore!

    Lexie: I don't mind either really :) I guess it's just interesting, this vision of summer!

    Amy: It won't stay like that here! We get up into the mid to upper 90s usually, when you get to the peak of summer (around my birthday, boooooo!) and if it's not that hot it's at 453784567834653% humidity. Mostly, it's just humid all the time, ugh.

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  9. love this entry! such a beautiful post :)

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  10. I think it's like that with everything we want really bad: we idealize it. We get burned many a time, but we never stop dreaming: perfect job, perfect love, perfect summer... and that's the beauty of life in my opinion - I vote for daydreaming!

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  11. We imagine summer all year round and then it just happens like the rest of the year, nothing special. It's kind of sad really and, yet, like you said, we still look back on it with such nostalgia. If only we could completely give up the mundane everyday things (jobs, school, chores, etc.) enough to experience summer to its fullest, but would one even want to? This romanticization is such a strange, beautiful thing.

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  12. sweet post.now after have read it , i can't help myself posting a little something about summer too

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  13. A nice summer read :)

    - Chelsea-Alana
    http://vintagefashionmusings.blogspot.com/

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  14. Besides the heat, there's just a special kind of freedom. I'm not into dresses and I'm allergic to grass... so my summer fairytale is altered quite a bit.

    It is still nice to think about.

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  15. I totally agree, as the end of the semester wraps up we're all dying for some sun, sand, and ice cream but when we actually get there we realizes how the ice cream melts, we're getting heat rash, sticking to the car seat, and are bored out of our minds. I always look forward to fall more and it usually never disappoints because something inevitably happens and changes, summer is just so languid, as thick and stifling as the humidity ugg

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  16. I actually just read (and watched) the virgin suicides, and I know exactly what you mean... there's something really romantic and poetic about having such a sweltering summer. have you read the bell jar? it gives me much of the same feeling.

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  17. this is exactly how i want to be, even if it is idealistic. I want lazy hazy summer days full of doing nothing and warm hair and riding old fashioned bicycles up hilly island roads. And staying at a kinda teetery beach house and sneak out at night to see the stars.
    -indigo

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  18. I dore your writing, it's delightful. Your blog is one of the reasons that ispired me to make one, though I've yet to start to really get into mine. Yours is so breezy and dreamy. Thanks for never failing to make me smile.
    It's indeed very true what you write about yearning for summer.
    I live in Canada and over here it's taking so long for the sun to burn. We're already in June and it's so strange that our weather isn't yet toasty. I am awaiting that lovely sounding summer sensation as well.

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  19. I love summer - I love the headiness, the indulgence of the heat. It warps you, its sensual, and even when it is too much, it is still SOMETHING interesting that's happening, a self-imposed laziness and languishness. I love it, even when I complain about it.

    We had a heat wave last week in Vancouver BC, home of mild everything. I thought it was wonderful - so exotic and enticing!
    Two of my favourite words.

    You've done a fabulous job of summing SUMMER up though, why I love your writing. Too bad, it's the middle of summer when we start taking it for granted. Let's not do that this year!

    PS Having a giveaway on my blog:
    www.ontheblogbandwagon.blogspot.com


    Three dresses, one retailing at Shopbop for $176!, and so easy to enter: just leave a comment :)

    Cheers x

    Lusty

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  20. I am from Portugal and presentely living in Spain, and I am definately a summer girl. I do relate with all the romantic vision you so well described, altough I also know for me it´s something very real. I love the heath on my skin, the dry weather, the warm breeze. One of my favorites is reading by the sea side. Summer is the time of the year when I most feel myself, more at ease, more in my own skin.
    I loved your summer vision, most wellcome in a day when temperatures decided to drop and clouds are scatered around the sky.

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  21. This is so lovely, and so true! My favorite summer memories have something to do with sitting outside in my parents' backyard with my sister in 1999 or 2000, trying to get tanned and reading issues of Nylon Magazine. Now it doesn't seem so fancy . . . sitting in a Midwest neighborhood with cars driving by and trains passing every 10 minutes, but then it was the most perfect thing! I guess summer just does that to you.

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  22. I was desperate for summer in the midst of a apocalyptic series of thunderstorms in New York City today. If only I had a porch somewhere in Georgia with a rocking chair, it might not have been so bad.

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  23. nabokov. is. my. hero.
    this won me over. i read and reread the quote, and then found it in my lolita.
    x

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  24. I have had some epic summers...they are definitly my favorite part of the year. And floaty dresses and lazy days in the sun pretty much does sum them up. :)

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  25. The Virgin Suicides, while depressing, always makes me crave summer!

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  26. first picture (hands&dandilions is mine and I don't remember giving permition for using it. this is a serious violation of copyright. please remove it immediatly.

    Ewa Lena Brzozowska

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  27. Oh dear lord almighty, if you like Jeffery Eugenide's the Virgin Suicides, I think you will love Saul Bellow. The intro to Saul Bellows Penguid Edition books have a introduction by Jeffery E, and on NPR he reccomeded Herzog. I think it will change the way you look at books. Or whatever. The style of books. The thing. .. . well thats all.

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  28. I think you did a wonderful job of painting a picture of summer.

    And yes, June quit the gloom and give me some sun.

    Love Grace.

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  29. Perfect Moment/Ewa: Terribly sorry about that! I actually saved it from someone else's blog that also had no credit (I don't remember where, but if I run across it again I'll let you know).

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  30. I am aware that this picture is being stolen a lot, and I can't really do anything about it. I reacted here because I follow your blog. You don't have to remove the picture, but please sign it with my name (Ewa Brzozowska) and post the source - my deviantart gallery http://bubble-gum-heart.deviantart.com/
    greetings
    Ewa

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  31. The picture of the rabbit makes me think of a hot summers day just starting up, at like 6 in the morning or something before everybody's up and about. I'll gladly take any kind of summer over here, so long as the sun is shining. It's been raining all week so far..

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  32. You are absolutely right about bloggers romanticizing summer. It influences my view on the season as well and even though I know I'll be suffering and complaining once the temperatures reach the 90's and 100's, I'm still looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to days in the sun with friends, lounging around, picnics, endless bicycle rides, and other things that are idyllic in the summer time. It's safe to say that the cause of this is due mostly in part to the fashion blogosphere. People are aching for summer and associating the heat with wearing delicate, breezy, vintage cotton dresses, rompers, and shorts and it's when you think of a warm season sartorially that it begins to feel romantic and ideal.

    (You are a superb writer, by the way, and this was a fantastic entry. You're the kind of blogger I want to be like but am somehow unable to be because of my inarticulateness. It's a wonder how I ever survived being an English major for my lack of proper words.)

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  33. Oh, this is the kind of summer post I love to read.
    Just lovely.

    Robin
    http://threadbearthoughts.blogspot.com/

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  34. I can relate to every word you wrote there, because each one is so true. I don't know why, it seems that we all crave for that beautiful season where we can wear white, flowy clothes, and do braids in our hair, and where everything seems to move in slow motion. Where the lights are all warm and love seems to be everywhere. I dream a lot about that kind of summer, but I guess it's only in the imagination... Last summer, I was wondering why I couldn't actually feel it that way. I thought that the problem was maybe the place I lived, where there are no charming fields, no pretty streets with pretty houses where I can ride my bike all day. But I think that it would be difficult to have a summer like that, even living in a place so dreamy :) Simply because a summer like that seems to belong to a book or movie.

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  35. You have described this so perfectly (and beautifully)! I'm not a summer person by any stretch, but it's so strange.. even I find myself looking forward to this kind of ideal fairytale summer, all Virgin Suicides and Lolita. And last winter I found myself actually looking forward to summer for the first time ever, even though I knew the reality will be full of mosquitoes and sweating and unhappiness, haha! But I guess that perfect summer only exists in our imagination, and really there's nothing wrong with that.

    And I do that glossing-over thing too- even when we went to New Orleans and I knew it was going to be ridiculously hot, for the first time I was able to set that aside and just feel the summmerness of it all (for a while at least- and then real life set in and I had to find air conditioning).

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  36. Please visit my vintage store...
    Lots of wonderful pieces!

    http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/atheneze_jan

    Thanks!

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  37. Hello! Please visit my ebay vintage store... Lots of wonderful pieces!

    http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/atheneze_jan

    Thanks...

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  38. The best part of summer by a long shot for me is ice cream with your friends on a warm night.

    I'm flying all the way back to the USA in July so I can enjoy that precious jewel of summertime without giant bugs interfering.

    This was a really inspiring post :)

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  39. i love summer (though i prefer fall/winter ensembles), but either way i think it's a time to relax, yet reinvent yourself!

    -nikky

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  40. I love those images, and I agree- I'm dreaming of that summer too. But all we've had here are weeks and weeks of coolish, occassionally warmish, rain!

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  41. Great read! The temperatures are slowly rising here in Japan GAH!

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  42. Summer does get romanticized a lot - it is such a beautiful season. I love your blog and I added it to my favorite blog list. Check mine out also, if you get a chance :)

    xoxo,

    Bug

    http://inbugsdrawers.blogspot.com/

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  43. What a dreamy post!

    Also dropping by to tell you I've got a giveaway going on you might be into, feel free to take a look :)!

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  44. Summer is such a romantic time with the sun beaming here and there. I love it! Nice post - your description was written well :)

    ~ Bug

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  45. i agree with this post SO MUCH. it's been soo blah here. this weekend was perfect though! i cant wait for many more lovely weekends to come :) btw, i am attending a pool party this weekend, if you are so inclined, email me :)

    btw, i finally posted my always&nevers!!

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  46. great entry and your followers write equally eloquently - very delightful. i'm in the tropics but i think i relate. i'd love to read your thoughts when it's fall.

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  47. I really loved how you portrayed the idealized summer of our winter dreams! We usually think about that period as some dreamy, idylliac, bucolic paradise - girls in light cotton dresses running in slow motion through wheat fields, seagulls against skies of an impossible blue, white silk scarfs fluttering into the breeze, the whole shebang... When, actually, is humidity, warm water into plastic bottles, melted chocolate over your fingers, mosquitos bites everywhere, and nights spent trying to find a bit of your pillow that is not sweaty and as hot as the Sahara desert! :)

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