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Mountain afternoon, post-thunderstorm in Vermont.

I first have to address how disappointed that none of my Beastie Boys are pulling up tonight. All I know is that I knew and loved the Beastie Boys when I still lived in San Jose–so before moving the summer before 5th grade, also known as 1987. For the eldest child in my family, that’s pretty impressive. But I did have a clock radio and listened to KWSS, which had Oingo Boingo and Midnight Oil and clearly was ahead of the curve even at 9. But seriously. Really, what I need to say about Adam Y is that anyone dying at 49 of any kind of cancer is just simply heartbreaking. He was sheer talent. He was magic. I’ll move on now, but I do have to say the following:

Don’t step out of this house if that’s the clothes you’re gonna wear.

I’ll kick you out of my home if you don’t cut your hair

Your mom just busted in and yelled “What’s that noise?”

Aw Mom you’re just jealous, it’s the Beastie Boys.

Okay, I am done.

So right now, Quinn the Eskimo is on, and it makes me smile because that’s what Dad calls the new pup when she acts silly. I don’t really have much to say on that but just had to address it.

Today I played hookey from my paper grading. I am okay with it though. It was gorgeous today, and I slipped off to Oakland to see my friend’s new house, play with her kids, and go to the farmer’s market. I am so happy I did. God what a glorious day. It started off with ten hours of much needed sleep followed by physically running into a beautiful man. I must have accidentally stepped into his jogging path (oops) when I was walking to meet my friend to head over to the East Bay. He grabbed my shoulder because we bread and buttered too many times, and he apologized for getting in my way. Not bad for 9:15 am.

When I met up with L, we decided to get coffee and take a cab instead of caffeine free via the bus, and I was thankful. I do miss the peninsula and my parents house though this time of year, and pretending we would be in Capri or Santorino or Avignon–depending on the cuisine and wine. But Oakland did it for me today. I bought an amazing steak, fresh tomatoes, basil, and red onion at the Lake Merritt Farmer’s Market, and bought burrata once I got home. I mean, how does one go wrong? And let me tell you, dinner in front of my window previewing the Supermoon tonight topped all. Patio time in the sun was welcomed by even the palest skin in the bunch (mine) and I now have a nice rosy and slightly freckled pallor. Thank goodness. I was worried the pale would stick around for another six months!

Today I realized how pleased I am that I do not have to race off to Vermont in t-minus 38 days. Perhaps if it hasn’t been your life for 5 years, you don’t get it. I don’t need to prepare my apartment for a deep sleep or a sublease. I don’t have to rent a car for 51 days. I don’t have to race home to catch the last days of summer in Tahoe. I don’t have to fear shorts and t-shirts for 51 days. I don’t have to cram 24 books down my throat. I don’t have to pay for a plane fare to god-knows-where and then rent a car and drive the rest.

Yeah, I won’t miss that. But let me tell you what I will miss. The smell of a hard summer Vermont thunderstorm. Square Dances. Fires in the barn on rainy mornings. A horrible Route 125 torn up to smithereens. The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. Ed Browne and his attitude. Humidity and the slight wave it gives to my lifeless brown locks. Dear friends who share two major passions–teaching first, literature second. Adirondack chairs. Fireflies. The smell of the meadow after being cut down in early July. Screams from the theater at late hours. Crickets. The smell of cigarette smoke coming through my window. Magic Hat in a rocking chair on a porch in a sundress at 11 at night. Otter Creek in a heinous outfit, sweating to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Dear friends. Amazing professors. Five summers that I thank the literature gods for daily.

And what do I have in return? Freedom. Less debt. An amazing degree. Lifelong friends and memories that will never ever go away, Tonight I am nostalgic, not for any particular reason. Tonight I also realize that I have my summers back and I don’t have to miss home or burritos or the Golden Gate Bridge. No need to call home hoping to catch everyone home for 4th of July or Wednesday night beer can races on the lake.

It looks like I will bookend my Bread Loaf experience with Palo Alto summer school. I am so okay with that. It’s an 8-12 job for only 3.5 weeks. I get to work on my curriculum! I.Get.To.Work.On.My.Curriculum. You have no idea how excited I am to utter such words.

Those who feel the breath of sadness, sit down next to me.

Those who find they’re touched by madness, sit down next to me.

Those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me.

In love, in fear ,in hate and tears…

James comforted me when I left Lancaster in 1998 after the most amazing semester abroad ever. I left complete freedom at age 20 and had to return to real life. Kind of like leaving Bread Loaf last summer.

It’s been a good run. I worried before I left Vermont last summer how I would cope this summer. When I drove away, I was more ready than I thought I would be. Upon arrival and departure every other time, I cried my eyes out–out of excitement, anxiety, desperation, exhaustion–you name it. When I left on August 7, 2011, I smiled. I was complete. And while I know I will live vicariously through my friends via Facebook, I will be in the greatest city in the world despite our lack of summer. I will go to Bend and see one brother, Reno to see another, Santa Barbara to hug my pregnant cousin, Arizona to see my favorite aunt, and home to Tahoe to do absolutely nothing…and be okay with it. Oh, and see my friends here whenever I want.

Yes my friends, summer is on its way, and ain’t nothing gonna stop her. Not even my suppressed desire to go to Vermont.

Sit Down–James

Bookends Theme–Simon and Garfunkel

Bleed to Love Her–Fleetwood Mac

Quinn the Eskimo–Bob Dylan

Be my Somebody–Norah Jones

Red Sector A–Rush