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Time slows in summer

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There are two kinds of summers: the ones described in Rookie, and the ones as seen in American movies. The former: feeling the warmth of a shaft of sunlight on your leg; making out individual dust particles in the air of a heavily curtained room. Skinny dips in the pool at midnight and the feeling of the night breeze on your skin epitomize the second.

Slowly the world turns and yesterday, two books tucked under my arm, I went back to St George’s Fields. Nothing changes there, only my neighbours’ walking paces, slowing to a crawl. I lay on the lawn outside Hanover Steps. The heat of the sun had shriveled the grass under my body, turned it yellow. Ants climbed the curled blades to bite my legs. A blackbird blinked at me; I saw its eye’s bluish film.

St George’s is a microcosmic world. I ambled up the garden path when the sun had begun to burn my calves, up to the Japanese pond. Little fish swam between bigger fish; the adults must have laid eggs that spring, balls at once squidgy and hard. Under the canopy of trees by the mews, the grass was prehistoric moss. I swung from the tree I was too afraid to climb as a child, watching the spray from the sprinkler wetten the pieces of bark on the ground; form beads on the waxy leaves of plants whose names I do not know. I must have looked stupid to the boy who saw me from his car but nature is both eternal and ephemeral and there I will always feel like a kid.



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