My first real crush bloomed just before the summer solstice.
I was eleven. My mother had taken my sister and I to swim in the pool of a family we were just becoming friends with, none of whom my sister and I had met. Mom wasn’t sure who would be there, but her friend had four kids, so there was definitely a chance that at least one of them would be.
When we arrived, it appeared that no one was home. We reached over the fence to unlatch the gate and let ourselves in. After twenty minutes of splashing, diving, and laughing in the pool, a shortish, lanky kid in black Nike swim trunks emerged from the sliding glass door and introduced himself.
I was instantly drawn to him (and I mean instantly). I couldn’t believe that he was just here, standing in front of me, getting ready to jack knife into the pool and play Marco Polo with us. Every crush I’d had until then had played itself out in the school environment, in full display of a highly critical public. This was instantly intimate, private. There weren’t the boundaries of desk placement, cliques, and academic performance to keep us from spending time with each other. We could just…have fun.
We played wiffle ball in the side yard. We went for walks to the gas station convenience store and bought lemonade and candy bars. We joked and jibed and practiced flips off of the diving board. We just existed as humans, and somehow this felt really new and incredibly natural to me. It felt like everything a crush should be, but hadn’t been until then.
Even though everyone in both families knew that there was adolescent “like” between us, we never said the words to each other. When the summer was over, the crush went into hibernation, only to be revived the following summer (only to go into hibernation once more).
During the third summer, our families went “down the shore” (that’s New Jersey speak for “to the beach”) with each other. We were thirteen by then. It was very clear that we felt something for each other, but we said nothing. By then, our families had become the “highly critical public,” so our exchanges were neither private nor intimate.
One night, we all went miniature golfing together. I have these memories of looks I’ve shared with people that are burned into my brain, and one of these is from that golf outing. He was ten feet away from me, jauntily leaning on his putter, smiling and speaking to someone else but looking at me with an expression that can only be characterized as love. No words spoken, but meaning conveyed.
Once we got back to the hotel room, he and I sat together on the balcony watching tv. Neither of us had the courage to kiss the other, so the moment passed. After that summer, our families largely stopped seeing each other. And really, that was the end of that.
Each year when the summer solstice approaches, I’m reminded of these summer days. There’s something in me that remembers a feeling of walking through tall grass by the old train tracks, shooting the shit and skipping rocks. There are other summer memories I have of wasting time in the same beautiful way, and when the temperature rises past a certain point, they come rushing in like storm rain floods the sill of a window that someone left open. Some years (like this year), these memories signal a truth long forgotten, an ease of living and a deeper connection available to each of us. All we have to do is forget that we’re trying to impress someone, that we’re trying to make something of ourselves, that we’re trying to reach some unachievable standard.
All we have to remember is that when we let ourselves play, we find joy, passion, and connection.
explore the spirit of play with the mind witch coven
This June in the coven, we’re exploring the sacred practice of play! Through the video, spell, and ritual offerings, you’ll…
~ be invited into the spirit of play through recalling and recreating the playful experiences of your childhood.
~ recite an incantation that connects you with the moment and releases attachment to outcomes (a key component of recapturing play).
~go outside to perform simple spells and “inside” to remember what it feels like to have fun.
~be inspired as I share my own experiments with play through high production, high quality video content!