Saturday, June 4, 2011

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Pastime

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This is by far the longest time I've been at home since 2009. A little more than a month of nothing remotely academic to do seemed like a welcome treat at first, but I knew how it could easily degenerate into a useless, idle, and tiring period. Vacation is only sweet at the beginning; it eventually gets stale at the end.

I've been a fool to not realize that, when I return, I may no longer enjoy the things I have now—at least not in a long time. Those things include uninterrupted sleep, cable tv, and free, home-cooked meals.

James Salter was describing France in his book, A Sport and a Pastime, but I could easily picture my summer break in these words as well.
I am awake before dawn, 0545, the bells striking three times, far off and then a moment later very near. The most devout moments of my life have been spent in bed at night listening to those bells. They flood over me, drawing me out of myself. I know where I am suddenly: part of this town and happy. I lean out of the window and am washed by the cool air, air it seems no one has yet breathed . . . And then the pure, melancholy, first blue of morning begins. The air one can bathe in. The electric shriek of a train. Heels on the sidewalk. The first birds. I cannot sleep. 
Ah, summer.

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