Monday, July 2, 2012

a tribute to my favorite month.

July, July.

It's finally here. The stickiest, most humid, sweat-behind-your-knees-and-on-your-hairline, sunburn-on-your nose-and-shoulders, popsicle-melting-as-fast-as-you-can-slurp-it, cannon balling-into-cool-water, flesh-burning-seatbelt-heat, mosquito-slapping, windows-down, day-drinking VERY BEST time of year.

I may have mentioned it before, but July is my favorite month of the entire calendar year. Not only because of fireworks and my birthday and the raging heat, but mostly.

You see, I am a summer soul. Thoughts of July keep me tethered (sometimes more loosely than others) to sanity all year long. I must say, there's nothing quite like a Midwestern July.

It's true, I've tested new locales far and wide whilst wandering along in July's embrace over the years, but no place I've found does July quite like the Midwest. We've got walk-up Dairy Queen countersand corn fields as far as the eye can see, with stalks growing so fast it feels like if you sit still long enough you could witness them springing further and further from the earth. We've got orchards full of apple trees and raspberries and peaches and you can get a cider slushie that will change your entire outlook on life for nary one dollar. We've got air so humid a thunderstorm can -and will- pop up at any time and hot rain drops will fall on your exosed skin, branding you for a second or a minute or however long they last. We've got streams and rivers and lakes and plenty of rafts and floaties for one more, there's always room for one more to float along side.

July means eternal youth, because heat will sometimes even all playing fields, and reduce us to hose-drinking children and popsicle licking youth. I challenge you to find a person who doesn't feel the slightest sense of glee at lighting a bottle rocket and waiting for the SWOOSH and CRACK! I bet you couldn't find a soul in the Midwest that doesn't relish in the idea of seeing how many we can light off at a time. I've never dated a guy that when I pointed out my favorite kind of firework, hesitated to point his own out to me mere moments later. It's so hot that holding hands doesn't seem chaste, instead it's a testiment of affection to be touching another person's hot skin at all. July is a time when a pony tail or pig tails are appropriate for all age groups. Sometimes (all the time, for me) socks are just too much for our battered and heat swollen feet. That sometimes is July.

I love July more now than I did as a child, even without the reward of no school and 31 days of potential lake swimming and adventure IN A ROW. There's a reason July is one of the longest months, there's a lot of life to pack into a time when it's so hot that every motion seems languid, slower than we'd normally move, but there's so much more we want to do. Leisure. July is a symbol of leisure for me. After those forty hours per week of work fly on by, it's time for relaxation and fun. For baseball games, picnics, and pool days. For sunset walks with the dog, who for once is not pulling the goddamn leash so hard you think your arm will bust out of the socket. July is al fresco dining at that new restaurant and street fairs and outdoor concerts where you sit on the lawn on childhood comforters and sip overpriced light beer until the music starts and then everyone loses themselves and jumps up and down and around. July means joy. Sure, July means heat and a certain wonderful sense of misery but it also means laughter and melting smiles and hammocks and hikes and so many pictures.

I challenge you to find a person that doesn't look just a little bit healthier with some sun on their nose and cheeks. It's why women wear bronzer, right? So we look a bit touched by the sun. July is a perpetual kiss from the sun.

July is good. Not only are we thawed, finally, we're melted. We can reshape ourselves come fall, and we will, we will. But July. July is a good time to be in a fluid state, to move easily and freely, full of flexibility and able to fit to any plan or mold. To try karaoke for the first time or smile at a stranger. To roll the windows down and drive someplace you've never been before. To blame that crazy behavior on 'A little too much sun.' Because the sun never minds, it likes to drive us crazy. Summer is the only time that the sun isn't completely fickle and unpredictable. In July, even when the sun leaves, she's rarely gone for the whole day.

Sure, I like other months and I could name redeeming qualities for each at the drop of a hat, but July, now that is true romance. July is wild, youthful, and it burns. July is fleeting and leaves you feeling spent and a little off kilter, but that's okay. Sturdy September will set us straight if we can suvive the return of order and school in August, with the sun still beckoning enticingly, hotly, from our desks through the window. July keeps us up late and encourages us not to blow dry our hair before work. It scoffs at makeup and ironing clothes in favor of a few precious extra minutes of sun-steeped sleep and one more round of the snooze button. July is a first love that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when it's over.   But who among us wouldn't go back for another taste of first love?

That's July.

1 comment:

  1. This is lovely. You remind me of all the GOOD things about summer in the midwest! Though you did forget fireflies :-)