A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Summer's End
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I have written about this before, and, in fact used the very same image of Rebecca to illustrate that garden phenomenon when I look at my hostas with their slug holes and I say, "Slugs it's the end of summer. You can have them."

In two weeks it'll be the longest day in the year... Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 1

As I started my first fall class at Focal Point the women behind the desk asked me, "How was your summer?" It has been many years (37) since I taught or went to school so this question is particularly meaningless to me and more so since I am a freelancer. I work when I get it and weeks meld into other weeks. Friday and Mondays have no specific image except that traffic is worse when I want to go or leave my studio.

The question however has a romantic memory attached to it for me. It brings me memories from the 1974 film The Great Gatsby with Robert Redford (Jay Gatsby) and Mia Farrow (Daisy Buchanan). Sometime by the end of the film Gatsby, smartly dressed in white and with a white straw hat walks the length of a swimming pool with a male companion (I have forgotten whom). It is a bright sunny day and Gatsby says something like, "It has been a great summer." That one statement in that film is full of meaning and more so when I gaze at this picture or Rebecca.

"I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone's away. There's something very sensuous about it - overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 7

Rebecca almost got hit by a car today as she was cycling to the park. A car was going much too fast and did not notice her. Rebecca should have stopped, but she didn't. There was a sober sort of here-comes-winter-and-soon-I-will-be-an-adult-and-things-will-get-serious look. "I don't want that," she might have been thinking as I concurred.

"He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about...like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees."- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 8

On a less sobering note summer reminds me of Argentine colectivos (buses) and how as a young man I noticed that Argentine men would offer seats to women in the summer but refrain in the winter. It didn't take me long to figure out that in the summer, when Argentine women wear very little clothing, the sight from above as a man stood, was far better during that hot season.


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