'So sad, so strange, the days that are no more'
Reflections on the summer’s end.
With the exception of the winter-into-spring transition, I am always a little melancholy when one season is about to end and another to begin. This is especially true of this time of year. I know I am not alone in my desire to slow time down and hang on a little longer to the last, sweet vestiges of summer. This, of course, is never possible.
Oh sure, I had enough quiet afternoons at the town pool and, more recently, some lovely, languorous days at the beach. I read books, ate sweet corn, and made lemonade from lemons. Sometimes the kids were at various camps and sometimes they bickered relentlessly at home. It’s all a blur now that fall, for all intents and purposes, is upon us. The pool is closed, the sun is setting earlier each evening, and school begins tomorrow. How can it be that 12 weeks of summer have so stealthily slipped away? How can it be that I remember so little of how those 12 weeks passed?
I mentioned that the pool has closed for the season. I do vividly recall that this care-worn old facility generated a lot of heated discussion this summer. And not only because the Board of Selectmen, Health Department, and Director of Public Works agreed to remove the diving board prior to the beginning of the pool season – a decision I still do not understand or support, but I digress.
The town’s leaders recently proposed moving the pool up the hill near to where the playground now sits. There is some evidence that the current water table issues would be mitigated if the pool were moved to higher ground. This would also fit into a “master plan” to move the library across the street, relocate the field that the library would overtake to near where the pool now sits, and finally, move the police station to where the current library is situated. Did you follow all that? Me neither.
Embedded in these possibilities is the hope that the good citizens of Belmont will support several costly debt exclusions. It’s true that Belmontions have been generous in supporting debt exclusions in the past to replace dilapidated infrastructure (two fire stations, the Wellington School, etc.). But surely this fiscal support has limits, and the creation of a new pool and bathhouse facility, a new library, a new athletic field, and a new police station will all not be favorably received at the polls. Especially since this list of exhausted, old facilities is not quite yet exhausted. The high school is in dire need of a renovation and the field house and skating rink keep coming up on the “in need of renovation” lists as well.
What is a town to do? How does one prioritize such a dense list of pertinent projects? I don’t know and I certainly don’t envy those charged with making these decisions. I get overwhelmed when the seasons change ... so clearly this is not my bailiwick.
What I need to focus on in the days and weeks ahead is basic, even banal, compared to questions of infrastructure. Simply put, I need to remember where I stashed three backpacks last June and what I used to pack in three lunch boxes. I need to ride the learning curve of getting three children to three different schools each and every morning – and actually dropping them off before the start of school would be good too. I need to locate soccer cleats and shin guards and pray they still fit.
And once the house is eerily quiet for the first time in 12 weeks, I’ll pause, breathe deeply, and then slowly turn to the list of all the things I didn’t accomplish this summer: weed garden, paint porch, organize attic, and so on.
But first I’ll savor one last glass of fresh squeezed lemonade.
It is technically still summer, after all.