Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

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Dyke along Port Williams, N.S.

“You can’t change the weather,” says one of my aunts, “so why bother complaining about it?”

Yet I really feel like raging about all the thunder and lightning and rain that Calgary’s been treated to this spring and summer. I usually enjoy storms. Being cozy and safe inside while the elements boom, thrash and splash outside. But enough is enough. I want sunshine.

It’s been officially summer for a while and with this season usually comes warmth and freckles and leaving windows wide open. Before I was old enough to get a job, summer for me meant swimming outdoors, camping trips and bug repellent. All great things.

Then, when I was older and had to take more responsibility for myself, summer meant a summer job. From strawberry picking, to instructing swimming, to being a lifeguard, to picking rocks, to making tires, work filled my Nova Scotia summer days with learning about accountability and making a buck. Summer nights, however, (when I wasn’t on a midnight shift at the Michelin plant) were filled with other things. Things that meant being young and free and not having any concerns except who was going to bring snacks to the fire.

Dyke near Port Williams looking towards Wolfville.

Dyke near Port Williams looking towards Wolfville.

My friends and I had bonfires on the dykes near Wolfville. The dykes were built by the Acadian people hundreds of years ago to keep the waters of the Bay of Fundy at bay. The barriers still exist and work today and make a nice place for a sea of flames and a gathering of friends.

We played word games and sang songs. None that the Acadian ghosts would know. At the fires crushes among my male and female friends were lit. Some burned out over a week and some blazed until school started again. None went further than September.

During our summer fires we watched satellites in the sky. Counted the stars and talked about our futures. What would we be doing? Who would we turn out to be? Who would we be with?

After the evening we would go home, smelling of smoke and dreaming of what’s ahead. It was always good stuff. Because when you’re young it’s important to think the sun is going to shine forever. That it’ll always be summer.

When you’re older, 20 years older, you know that rain falls and thunder crackles when you least expect it. But there needs to be some time for summer. For those days when you kick off your work shoes and go barefoot in the grass. Or ignore that last office e-mail because your bike is calling. So when the sun starts to shine over Calgary, do yourself a favour and enjoy a moment or two in it. You’re always young at heart.

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