Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
There is something about the quietness and warmth of mid-summer that brings reminiscences of summers past to the forefront for me. It happened the other day when I passed the chicory and Queen Anne’s Lace flowering on the roadside as we drove the backroads in the area near where I grew up.
For a fleeting instant, I was sixteen or eight again out for a summer drive, windows down, bare suntanned feet pressed into the seat in front of me. Nostalgia has a way of grabbing an experience from the air at just the moment when life felt peaceful, or joyful, or special in some way and freezing it in time.
The word nostalgia is made up of two parts from the Greek: nóstos meaning “homecoming” and álgos meaning “pain” or “ache”. The ache part of nostalgia perhaps is what I need to write about today. I think in that moment, driving in the car, I wanted to be pulled into a dream of summer: to re-experience that perfect moment when the warmth of the sun on my body and the sound of the cicadas and the breeze stirring my hair made me one with summer. These moments are so fleeting, past or present, and perhaps that’s exactly what fuels the nostalgia.
Maybe my longing is to be fully present to summer in ways I haven’t been this year because I have been caught up in the “doing” part of summer instead of the “being” part. Maybe what I need to remember is, “how to be idle and blessed…” After all, we only have one “wild and precious life.”