To Summer (first letter)

I turned from you in my teens.  Autumn was cooler.  I fell in love with the crisp dry air and new colours, the quickness and fragility of it, that melancholic sense of impending conclusion…   I’d don favorite old sweaters or vintage coats and walk briskly for hours, high on headphone music.  The cold would creep in and remind me of things losing their vitality and eventually dying.  There was so much joy in knowing I wasn’t there yet.  I’d survive the longest October shadows.
I chose to believe the pleasures of nostalgia were necessary for survival, that a life without them would be relentlessly awkward and end in failure.  I enjoyed thinking I wasn’t made for these times.   The thing is, I don’t feel compelled to imagine myself at all anymore.  I can’t be bothered to reform for some invented past or future, to preemptively dissociate with the incomprehensibility of the present.
I used to tell myself you were crass, childish, a morass of base pleasures squeezing out all discernment, all considerations of hardship and preparation, like a trust fund faux-hippy, championing the simple life while shamelessly exploiting the sacrifices of others, never acknowledging your indebtedness or parasitic nature.  I’ve also hated being told you were a glimpse of paradise, an Eden I’m repeatedly cast out of, a bittersweet excess to be momentarily obtained through deprivation and suffering.
I was deluded but your warmth sustained me.  The sun on my skin, that sense of the exterior world integrating with my body at a molecular level – it’s an awareness I wouldn’t trust.  I used to believe it came and went with your arrival and departure each year, but now I’m finding it within myself constantly.  I feel it in my toes, under the stuff I’ve shaken off.  You’ve been waiting on me without expectation, knowing I’d eventually reach this moment of recognition, this equatorial return to life.  The sun is out and I refuse to make plans.  I’m following your lead until it’s all over.