from As close to us as breathing by Elizabeth Poliner

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But when the going is good, when the day is light and sunny, how can you not grab at freedom? p 31

Summer is here. The skies are blue, the clouds suitably white and puffy. That golden longed for sun is shining for a longer length of time each day. That feeling of invincibility is riding high on the wind, like an exquisite Japanese kite. Who doesn’t want to reach out with both hands and gather it all up?

The open road is calling. Now is the time to roll down the windows, belt out the words to all the up-tempo sounds blaring out of your speakers. In this way even a work commute feels like an adventure. My son T is often my partner in crime, though these days we take turns driving. Some of my favorite memories involve the two of us in the car dancin’ and groovin to the much-loved lyrics of the songs we both know. Ben Folds, Adele, and the beloved Hamilton are on constant repeat.

Tuesday we went to Burlington. I wanted us to have a day together away from home. We browsed through bookshops, shopped in secondhand stores and stumbled onto a new- to-us restaurant. We happened to be passing by as we heard someone say the magic word—cubano. Having just watched the movie Chef, it was the the food one of us had been secretly desiring. I’m still thinking about the breakfast burrito I had there. I might even be planning our next trip north so that I can stop there for another, that’s how good it was.

But T won’t be with me for that trip, because this Tuesday we take him to Smirkus. He’ll be there with his circus friend—and dozens of camp kids— until August when we come back to pick him up. That we’ll have him for a week, after which we’ll take him back to school. It seems that we will be spending quite a bit of our together time in the car. This summer, I’ll take what I can get. Being with him becomes more rare and precious the older he gets. I want to reach out and hold on tight, but I know that’s not possible.

These months are made for being outside. For me, being in the car offers a freedom I can’t find elsewhere. When I’m driving there’s an energy that courses through me. There’s a weightlessness that consumes me when I am in between the place I have left and the destination I am heading towards. A lovely limbo. The songs buoy me up and the words come pouring out. Katrina and the Waves said it best— “I’m walkin’ on sunshine.”

When that song comes on I can’t help put dance and through my hands up in the air. Which has me wondering, perhaps the only real way to hold on is to let go.

 

 

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