Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Present Meets Past, or The Hegemony of HSM

It finally seems like summer.

Last week was delightful, but sort of scattered. S and I alternated between staying home with E and taking her to work, and we still were settling in after the Great Camp Departure. Over the weekend we both had to work, plus juggle crisis (I spent all day Saturday leading a training with cellphone in hand). Not exactly relaxing.

Then Sunday afternoon I went out to the farm store for the first time in months and was overwhelmed by the cornucopia of summerness. I went hog-wild (no, I did not buy a hog, though stay tuned for a post about my friend Betsy's new book in which a hog is indeed bought--and eaten). I bought watermelon, nectarines, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and figs. I was a little worried we wouldn't eat it all--our fruit desire/consumption ratio is not always the greatest--but we are making excellent progress.

This week E has started farm camp (different farm) and all of a sudden we are fully grounded in summer. Farm camp is three towns out, and it feels like you're in the middle of the country. You drive by the pond at its most peaceful, and there are green-gold fields and dark-green woods in the distance. Then you get to the farm and the camp is camp: happy campers all around, surrounded by more of those fields and woods.

After camp on Monday, E and I went up to Town Pond for the first time this summer (E: "This is the best evening ever after the best first day of camp ever!"). Since we were in the country all last summer, I don't think we went once to Town Pond, and I'd forgotten how peaceful and pretty it is up there, especially if you take a picnic and go at dinnertime when it's quiet. Plus, it's always ten degrees cooler.

Yesterday morning I drove the camp carpool. The three kids were sitting in the back, and we were listening to E's friend L's birthday CD (another trend I wasn't aware of: make a CD of the kid's favorite songs for a birthday party favor--E has gotten two in the last month). The CD is heavy on the High School Musical and the kids were so excited, talking about which DVDs they have and which songs they like. At one point I looked back, and the three of them were all singing along, nodding their heads gently to the music (and I was slightly surprised at the general enthusiasm, because one of them is a boy, but then again Noah loves High School Musical, so maybe it is a pre-teen boy thing too).

I remembered, right then, that my first encounter with real pop music--not Beatles or Jefferson Airplane, the music we had on records, but radio hits--was in a camp carpool in the early 70s when every single day we heard "Billy Don't Be a Hero" and "The Night Chicago Died" on the Top 40 radio station. And I thought of E.B. White (yes, I really did) and "Once More to the Lake," which is not just one of the best essays ever, but the quintessential (middle-class, east coast white people) summer essay, and how at the end...oh, let's just get the quote...no, actually, it's really the theme to the whole essay, and I can't give you the essential last line without the whole essay, but basically as his son has the experiences he once had, the past and present blur, and he becomes his son, except not, and that's kind of what it was like driving the carpool to camp, though the beautiful country morning, now that it's finally summer (except luckily I got to skip the "chill of death" part).

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I love that concept of the past meeting present!