Last night I had one of those strange dreams where people, context and memories blend together in a most unexpected recipe and hasten your awakening with nostalgia.
I was walking across a large indoor basketball gym, and there was a player I intuited to be a young Magic Johnson, shooting hoops with a few other people. One of them was a woman I knew in the dream but now cannot remember. I began chatting with Magic about the Summer of 1984, when the Olympics took place in Los Angeles, noting what a fun time that must have been for him. He struggled a moment to recall, then smiled and reflected how that was probably about 10 years ago. I laughed and noted that it had been much longer than that, all the while observing that Magic looked more like his college player self than the age he is today.
Then I found myself speaking to the woman about the Summer of '84 in general, how it was the best season of my youth--right before the worst season of my youth. It was the first summer when I was truly in reciprocal love, when I got my first car, when life seemed teeming with possibilities. The final year and a half of high school were tough for me, but that summer lives on like the "Endless Summer" evoked by the Beach Boys.
So I am pondering this dream, grappling in the pre-dawn hours right now with the reality that my Summer of Summers is nearly 25 years old. And I'm asking myself what I have done across the years to keep a sense of summer alive in my heart, and what more I could be doing.
Summer is that era of abundance, preceded by spring with its emergence of new life that builds upon winter, that crucible of death and reflection. I know that summers cannot last, that they must yield to autumns and the changes that are inevitable. Time holds us green and dying, as Dylan Thomas observed in Fern Hill.
But in the moments of green, under the vibrant skies of summer, part of me is still a youth and more alive than ever...and the world is the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games with all of the majesty, music and potential. My spiritual disposition is that eternal life is already stitched into my soul, and so perhaps I am forever young despite whatever blows winter chooses to deliver.