What If Life Was Always Like Summer?

Life would mean so much more if it was always like summer. Being carefree is a gift given to us by sunshine and long days – vacations and day trips are our way of acknowledging the gift of this balmy season. We do things in summer that would never happen in the other three seasons because the rest of life gets in the way and demands our full attention. We have to live according to schedules and deadlines and in doing so, we often forget to be happy. Summer is a break from the forgetting – it demands that you open your eyes to the bright blue sky and embrace the world.

Summer is making plans and also having no plans. It is making time for the people and things we love most. It is also having the freedom to fill a day with doing nothing and not regret that. Summer plans make me buoyant and leave me feeling full. Full of life, full of triumph, full of living. I see life and living differently: life is the whole stretch of time we have that we can choose to ignore while it keeps going and going, while living is acknowledging time’s passing and doing something about it. Living is making life memorable. And that is the biggest opportunity that summer provides me. It’s where some of my biggest and brightest memories have been made. Both through making plans and having no plans, the adventures and the easy resting that comes when a schedule can’t dictate my life’s direction.

Summer means visiting family and having long talks with people I haven’t seen in a while and sometimes people I have never met. Time slows down and it seems the possibilities for filling a day are infinite, limitless. Summer is for dreaming and believing that life can be all it promised to be when we were younger. That there are days that fill our hearts with some much joy that they could burst. Perfect days that shape us, that give us a sense of happiness that lingers with our souls for the dreariest of days that inevitably always come.

Stretching my arms out wide as I gaze towards the horizon, wandering a winding path through unending trees, laying in bed with a good book while daylight brightens and fades – these are the moments that summer offers me, making it mean so much. Summer is wide-open roads, the wind, and rolling clouds, having no place to be while going somewhere.

If life was always like summer, we would be living in a dream, in limbo. The realities of life would disappear and we would be so much happier. But I guess that would dull the brightness that summer offers us, making it less special. Summer is happiness and sunshine, and loving the gift of being alive, appreciating all we have and all we can be. And that just has to be enough to make the rest of life worth it, every single moment.

Rayna Anderson
August 2017

The Dance

We were created for this. Each hour we Dance out on the platform as another toll is added. You eventually lose track of which hour it is, or else you just stop caring. You realize it’s a new day when you hear only one toll. We sleep in between Dances, sometimes eating or bathing.

One may call it training, but we know it only as life. We never had parents like those of the children we see running and playing far below. We sleep, eat, and breathe the Dance. It is part of us and all of us at the same time. We are never alone in this place; that thought never crosses our minds. A troupe, they call us, but we have heard the word “family” drift up from the throng below. We secretly call ourselves this, but the elders don’t appreciate this.

They are the faces we first remember, teaching us everything that now fills our brains. Which isn’t much, really. We function, and we Dance. We don’t cobble shoes, grow vegetables, or carve wooden toys like the market vendors who fill the square. The Dance is all we know. It took only a few years of practice for us to be ready. Our training stage was built high up among the pulleys, levers, gears, and pendulums. To teach us to not fear the height, they said. Being cleared to perform was the only milestone we would ever achieve. Failure wasn’t an option; those who failed were never seen again. We didn’t dare ask where they went.

It was demanded of us that we appeared flawless, seamless, graceful. We must Dance to the point where the crowds forget we are just like them, yet living entirely different lives. Robotic better describes it, but I would never dare say this out loud. I feel programmed: destined and doomed at the same time. I couldn’t leave even if I wanted to. The only doors I see are those which lead to the platform. Where would I go? I have no mother or father waiting with open arms to embrace me. My only skills are those of the Dance. Leaving would mean certain death.

The troupe has grown over the years. We have become more focused and more healthy. We now can Dance with doubled lines, although I’m not sure if there’s a point to having Dancers behind other Dancers. I doubt the crowds can see the second line. That is what the elders want, so that is what we do. We must always be ready to Dance out the golden doors when they swing open. There is no clock inside, only out. We look out for each other, making sure we are all in line and accounted for.

The first toll sounds, then another, and another. I hear nothing after this. If there were more tolls, I am not aware of them. If the crowd cheers or claps below, I hear nothing. My only thoughts are on the Dance. The fresh air and sunlight streams in as the crack between the doors widens. The two lines enter through doors on either side of the clock face. Smiles are put on our faces, whether we feel like smiling or not. It pleases the crowd, they say. My thoughts begin to drift away as the magical, peaceful feeling of the Dance overcomes me. We become the Dance, breathing life into it’s ancient movements.

And then it begins.

Rayna Anderson
2014

I am

I hurt / because the world is cruel.
I love / those who deserve it.
I hate / inequality.
I fear / not standing up for myself.
I hope / for a better tomorrow.
I cry / because it’s healthy.
I feel / small in the universe.
I talk / but never really say what I mean.
I listen / and dissect everything.
I break / at others’ pain.
I work / for a bright future.
I remember / those who have left me here.
I hold / memories in my heart.
I hide / feelings deep inside.
I pray / not completely expecting change.
I drive / my life forward.
I read / between the lines.
I learn / from every experience.
I know / not nearly enough.
I sing / the song that’s in my heart.
I want / to have a new world.
I think / of a more meaningful life.
I am / who I am.
I am / me, plain, simple.

Rayna Anderson
2013

Dream Town

I want to live somewhere where I can go out at 2 in the morning and have it be safe, normal, and not suspicious. I want to be able to walk down a street, or a boardwalk, or a trail in that strange silence that only comes at night. I want a 24 hour diner so that I can eat a burger and strawberry milkshake at 11 pm or 3 am or whenever suits me. I want neighbours that act friendly and smile and wave and water my plants while I’m away, but aren’t nosy and don’t stir up drama. I want big old trees and parks and bike paths. I want an adorable main street and old brick buildings and a church with a pointy steeple. I want a movie theatre that plays old and new movies and a crafting store where I can pick up supplies. I want there to be enough people that I often see strangers at the grocery store, but I want it to be small enough that I can drive anywhere in less than 10 minutes. I want to stumble across this perfect town, or float right in on a cloud, because it sure sounds like something straight out of a dream…