Summer Sponge

Posted: July 29, 2011 in Life, living
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Everywhere you go, you hear complaints about the heat this summer.  You understand.  You’ve walked out into the oven blast usually experienced by workers at pizza shops.   Your shirt soaked with sweat  testifies to the minimal movement required to raise your temperature.  But when the night comes and the summer breeze washes your face….. well isn’t that just something?

You find yourself walking down the street with your headphones jacked to the strains of “Sorrow” by David Bowie –  a dichotomy of lyrical lament set to joyful noise.  While the girls flirt with their long legs,  summer dresses and flip-flops, you breathe deeply and feel the residual stress of the thump thump thump of office deadlines fading into the evening’s cacophony of splattered rays of light.

The mischievous hide-and-seek street lamps peek through tree leaves, highlighting the lush greenery that frames the little shops and cafés.   And you’re lost.  Completely lost in the invitation of it all.

You pass the little jazz club with its wide open doors and flickering candlelight.  If you were dressed in something a little more snooty than cargo shorts and a T you’d know your feet would turn into the place before your brain had anything to say about it.   Inside, you see couples – some deep in conversation, others smiling, their hands flitting back and forth on the table, occasionally touching.  Their eyes betray their hopes.   “Will she let me kiss her? ”   In the far corner, far from the flickering candles, one couple has completed their dance and are now obsessed with discovering the depths of each others’ mouths.

You’re amazed that you caught all of that in the two seconds it took to go past the place.

As you continue down the street, a perfumed note tickles your noise, catapulting you back to an earlier summer, when you flirted with the actress at the party.   You smile as you remember her caress and the way her eyes flashed when you both snuck out and spent the entire night roaming the city streets.  Talking, holding hands, occasionally stopping to kiss.

She’s long gone now, and you’ve heard that she got married, out there far in the west of Canada.   The memory, and the perfume that provoked it, remain.

You can’t help noticing the pace of the summer night.  No one seems to be in any particular hurry.  Not even the lady selling roses.  Or the fortune-teller relaxed by the side of the street, waiting for giggling girls to stop by and pay their money, just to find out about their chances for romance.  Your hunger to capture it all leads you to take dozens of pictures with your point and shoot camera.  It doesn’t matter that only a small few turned out.  The walk itself was the joy.  Some things can only be appreciated in the moment.  And perhaps later on, in a blog.

You wander on, drinking in the night.   And briefly your mind wanders back to the middle of January.

No one sauntered anywhere, then.   They scurried, shivering, from their door to the car, and from the car to the store.   Quickly.  There were no smiles. There were no conversations or necking couples or invitations from the wide open doors of clubs.   The lights on the tiny streets illuminated nothing except the dirty snow, and the wisps of car exhaust.  Anyone unfortunate to walk was so bundled in layers it was almost impossible to determine anyone’s sex.  Fortunately some of them wore pink.  So there was that, you supposed.

Flirting was for fools, the provenance of the desperate and foolish.   Conversations were quick and to the point.

“How are you?”

“Fine.  See you later.”


Everyone got it.    Even the bums looking for spare change got it.   You remember walking past a few of them, as they sat shivering on the corner.   You were aware of the scam, and knew that they made their biggest hauls during the coldest and wettest times of the year.

“Spareanychangemister?  No?  ThankyouandGodbless”   They flung their words at you, hoping that they’d snag at your scarf and reel you in by your guilt.

You shiver suddenly, and just like that your mind returns to the present.  There, in the middle of the sidewalk, on the breezy and cozy and perfumed summer night, you remember how much you truly hate winter.   You vow never to curse the heat.

Your appreciation of summer, and of this night becomes overwhelming.  You kind of wish it would never end.

  1. I dread Winter every year… and now we’re well on the way there again… :(

    Even worse than the cold weather is how obscenely hot everyone has the indoor temperature over Winter! If it were that hot in their house in the Summer they’d complain, but suddenly they all try to make the contrast to the outside temperature as harsh as possible. Which makes it seem even worse.


  2. wolfshades says:

    I hate winter with a passion, and have for several years now. People tell me that when you’re in sweltering climes all year long, you miss the variety of having cold seasons. It’s the “grass is always greener” thing I suppose. Somehow I picture being able to walk around in short sleeves and cargo shorts all year long, and just can’t imagine not wanting that.

    One thing though: in the heat, air conditioning is a must. In a recent search for apartments on the west coast of Canada, I didn’t find many who had air conditioning. I think the climate is the same as much of the U.K. – and in fact there are places out there where it rains most of the time. Do you guys have air conditioning ever? As in: apartments, stores and taxicabs or houses?


  3. StarkRadio says:

    Hi Wolf, its Mouse. I live in Vancouver, and you are right, most do not have air conditioning. We only sweat for a couple of months a year and even then, due to ocean breezes, it cools right off at night. What you need here is waterproof gear. That is a must for the long months of rain, endless rain, the rain……

    Nice post! Were you out here recently? Are you moving out here? I just moved myself. Got some neighborhood hints if you like.

    Hope all is well, nice to read you again, and thanks for stopping by mine.


    • wolfshades says:

      Hi Mouse. I have family out on the island, which is one of the reasons I was thinking of moving there. In the end, though I chose to stay here in Toronto. There’s just something about this city that keeps intriguing me.

      Thanks for confirming my suspicious about the air conditioning. Good talking with you again!


  4. It’s the reason I moved to California. After living back east and then going to college in Vermont, I learned my love of the morning sun, the daily warmth and the cool brisk air at night…

    If I never see snow again… I’m totally okay with that!



    • wolfshades says:

      You’re living in the dream location Carmen! I’m kind of jealous that Canada doesn’t have a part of its territory along a latitude such as yours. There was some talk a few years ago about Turks and Caicos becoming another province of Canada, but that sort of died. Too bad – I would have been one of the first to sign up to move there.

      I’m with you on the snow thing too. Totally bums me out that we’re going to see it in a few months.


  5. Reading this took me right back to the beginning of our friendship when we exchanged what were some of the coolest letters of my life. I remember falling in love with Toronto, the way you described it, and I could see you walking from here to there, living your life, greeting people along the way, doing the things that wolves do when they’re in the city. :)

    I could talk about summer and how it hasn’t been the least bit hot here, not at all, and how I’m sick and tired of hearing people complain about it when we’re so damn blessed not to be broiling like the rest of the country. I could tell you how summer finally came, not too hot, just perfect, and it feels like God smiling. But what I really want to say is how much I lived inside your words while I was reading them.

    Don’t ever put down your pen. BFG


    • wolfshades says:

      “It feels like God smiling” – that is the perfect summation of it all. Even for all the description poured into this blog, I still don’t feel like I captured it all. It’s like trying to describe the perfect half bottle of wine. :) (Because one glass just doesn’t do it)

      You know, I made plans this summer to move out of my apartment and into a new place. I knew pretty much anywhere in Canada was up for grabs, as there are no job restrictions. I considered moving out to Victoria, or to London Ontario or to Peterborough Ontario or to Ottawa Ontario. Or I could stay in Toronto. Those were the choices I gave myself.

      London looked pretty good in terms of pricing, and Ottawa looked good because it was an ideal place for those who want to move up in my organization (all the big players are there), and it’s not a bad city.

      This blog probably explains a lot about why I wanted to stay here. And why I did finally end up moving just down the street from where I lived before. :)

      Thank you so much for your encouragement, Katy. Coming from you, it means a great deal!

      Keep barefootin’ too! :)


  6. jennygoth says:

    loved reading this i love winter and the oncoming xmas events the long wintwr nights with all my lanterns lit in my gothic house cozy and candles flickering xxjen


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