There are summers where I feel young, where the sun slips through the branches and lands on several blades of grass, where a butterfly is flitting across the clover, wings fluttering. A sad sort of happiness springs up inside me, awe at being alive, a glimmer of what life means. This isn't one of those summers.
I feel old. I feel like the Roman candle purchased by a little boy at the local fireworks stand. It's the first time he gets to light his own firework, with help from Dad, and he's excited. They set the Roman candle in the large block of concrete. They aim it away from the house, toward the stars. Dad lets him light the wick all by himself. They run away. The little boy squeals. He jumps, elated. Then stands very still, watching, waiting. The wick burns slowly. The flame moves down through the tube. Smoke gurgles out. And then nothing. No pyrotechnic star shoots from the tube, like a bullet from a gun. It's a dud.
This summer has no charge. It's heavy. And slow. I wander from place to place, trying to fill in the gaps of being awake with little things. Washing dishes. Watering roses. Weeding through e-mails. Looking for little wonders in the blades of overgrown grass.