Evening brings all things home. It brings the birds to the bough and the lamb to the fold. And the child to the mother. Euripides.
How beautiful is the end of the day, the place of hearth and home. And most beautiful are the days of summer which end slowly with eternally fading light. There is a poetry to it….the orange and yellow twilight with children running into the arms of parents, people throwing off their jackets and putting down their purses and briefcases coming together to share cold drinks and lock their fingers in one another.
Is there anything like July and August? Is there any time more like heaven than the close of the brilliant sun drenched day when even on one’s own, one is not alone being accompanied by the noisy youth on the street and the couples on their porches. The summer twilight….it is the litany of play and love. These are the days you will always remember, “the never before and never ever again days.”
Tomorrow can have its worries and it certainly will. There will be the tumult of struggle tomorrow, but tomorrow can own that. At the close of the day, there is gift. Between the brutality of hot sun with its commitment to everyday life and the dark night when one ponders on life and worries about the next day, there is this….the orange sky and the “time of secret swarming signs.”
Chicago is warm. It has been that way all summer, hot and little in the way of breeze or rain. The later we can use, but tonight we do not have this. But it is also pleasantly warm and the streets are filled with stories. Driving down Ashland I see those who are old friends to one another gathered outside of Nelson’s to say goodbye to a friend. And around the corner, on Bryn Mawr, a woman or a girl (she is at the age to be either) leaps into the air to lock her legs around the waist of a young man who catches her as they laugh and exchange a kiss. Perhaps those around the corner at the funeral home are remembering such a moment.
Is there anything like the summer twilight? They go on forever when you are there, but seem too brief when you remember them. Certainly the youth on Bryn Mawr have a moment to remember. How often do you literally carry a woman? Good practice for the threshold young man, if your life is to be blessed in such a way. The old friends, I am hoping, have many such moments they are reminiscing about.
It is summer and it is 2012. This is Chicago and it is July 24th. Soon the day will pass and the dark night will come and it will be followed by the tumult of the 25th. Nine and a half million call this area home. All of these are a story. All of these have a beauty unique to the people in the city by the lake who love their summers more than anyone. Soon these days will be the days to be remembered and too soon the youth will be like the old friends around the corner.
And to those who have not retired to the permanence of hearth and home….fill your days with fight, but make the fights righteous. And fill your nights with play, but do not forget love. During the day be only strong and protective and in the night be only caring and gentle, for that is the reward of those who engage the day. Don’t ever come to the close of life and muse that the living just don’t get it. Do not come to the end of the day and realize you did not have your summer with its orange twilight and its’ secret signs.