I’ve never had a garden before. But after several weeks spent stressing about whether or not the seeds I planted would ever give way to something green and viable, the plot is slowly filling up with — might I say — a rather robust spread of bean and squash seedlings. And at the risk of veering straight into Walden territory, let me get to the point: this diversion into self-sufficiency has led me to believe that, if I had any control over the matter, it would always be late May.
Aside from some annoyingly persistent bunnies, who have very apparently taken a liking to my attempt at a watermelon crop, I’m confident that at least some of my plants are going to live long enough to bear fruit. I’m filled with that persistent seasonal optimism native to the turning of spring into summer. I’ve started buying popsicles. I’ve got a base tan.
Late May is great for so many reasons, but chief among them is a uniquely sublime sense of anticipation — for all of the beautifully cliched visions of bliss that warm weather entails, yes. But also because that anticipation has yet to be tainted by Instagram pool photo FOMO, sunburns, and overexposure to grilled foods. Late May is saturated with a willful, child-like ignorance to sweating on public transportation, stubbed toes, and oppressive heat. Late May doesn’t care that no summer will ever be as idyllic as that one summer you had over a decade ago; it’s too full of hope. It’s two weeks of Christmas Eve, except with better weather and fewer familial expectations. Late May’s jolliness is sincere.
But late May, like the season it opens, is gone almost as quickly as you notice it’s been at least six weeks since the last time it snowed. As soon as you realize you should have been taking deeper breaths, the air turns thick and you pull out your air conditioner. And then, somehow, it’s all fireworks and a dizzying race to document every time in the next twelve weeks that you put on a bathing suit. And then, late May is gone, and June is here, somehow, and you just keep going, going, going, whirring into a frenzy of seasonal imposter syndrome, because you weren’t ready for summer, after all.
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