A Post-Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Summer’s more than half over. That’s what I discovered when, for no reason I can explain, I suddenly stopped and asked myself, When exactly is midsummer? And myself replied, Why are you asking me? You’ve been asking yourself this question every summer, usually around this time, since you were eight, but now you’ve got the internet and you can just look up the answer. Although when you were a kid you could have asked an adult. Sure, some of them might not have known, and some would have thought it was funny to give you an answer like “The thirty-eighth of Cunegonde.” And don’t you feel stupid for not finding out you could ask questions like this at the reference desk in the library until your senior year of college so you spent a lot of time trying to find information on your own?

This is why I don’t talk to myself as much as I used to.

Even though I did wonder when exactly midsummer was when I was a kid most of the time I was too immersed in the joy of summer to stick with the question long enough to ever stop to ask anyone. Besides I didn’t want to waste time worrying about when summer would slip into its downhill slide. That time would come soon enough. I remember the summer morning when I was nine or ten and I woke up and heard neighbors shooting off fireworks. Fireworks were supposed to be for the fourth of July, I thought, so why were they having a breakfast snap, crackle, and pop that had nothing to do with cereal in their driveway? Then I went downstairs and saw the newspaper on the kitchen table and realized it was the third of July—the entire month of June was gone and I hadn’t even noticed. Also that was the previous day’s newspaper, although I’d walk around most of that day still thinking it was the third.

Also when I was a kid seasons seemed very arbitrary. Then I grew up and learned more about how the world worked and came to understand that seasons are completely arbitrary. When I was a kid summer started when school ended, and most of the time that was sometime in late May, but, according to the meteorological calendar, summer this year started June 1st, with midsummer falling on June 24th. Of course when I was a kid autumn didn’t start when school started, which was usually in late August. Summer vacation might be over but as long as the weather was warm and humid we were still in summer. Depending on the weather I wouldn’t think of it as autumn until sometime in early winter.

We’ve had a very mild, at times almost cold, summer this year, with it only just now starting to get really hot. I wear jeans and a hoodie in the house because I’m cold-blooded and we keep the air conditioning pretty well cranked up most of the time, but when I step out into the sunshine and still keep the hoodie on because it’s a bit cool that, to me, is just not summer. In fact it’s been so cool for most of June that one morning, when it should have been sweltering but was actually chilly, I yelled up at the sky, “You could turn down the air conditioning a little!” I knew it wouldn’t change anything, of course, and I even wondered why I was doing it, but I know better than to ask myself questions like that.

Facebook Comments


  1. M.L. James

    Be careful what you wish for, Chris. If I understand correctly, the “cap” that’s been sitting on top of Texas for at least a week and has made everyone here miserably hot with sticky humidity and over 100 degrees in real temps, is headed east. That’s right. The worst of summer is headed in your direction, my friend. We are looking forward to the break, perhaps a summer rainstorm or two, but lower temps and (pray, pray, pray) a little less humidity. That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to still be hot — it is — it’s just going to not be unbearable. Fingers crossed.

    I never understood (still don’t) why the first of a season doesn’t coincide with the first of a month. I mean, it’s a human construct, so I’m all for changing it if I get a vote. From the meteorologist’s standpoint, I’m with them. As far as I’m concerned, summer is June, July and August. True or not, consider the Ides of July as midsummer my friend. However, I feel like there’s an interesting story about “the 38th of Cunegonde,” which I’m curious enough to ask you about. What the heck is the story about that, Chris?

    All I know is on the day after the summer solstice I sometimes say, “the days are getting shorter.” I quit saying it so much because it kind of makes me sad. On the flipside, I never feel sad about saying on the day after the winter solstice, “The days are getting longer.” 🙂 Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad you asked about “the 38th of Cunegonde”. It’s a joke from The Firesign Theater. A TV personality explains that the wheel was invented by Mr. George Antrobus on the 38th of Cunegonde, 1938 BC.

  2. M.L. James

    testing one, two, three

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

    This post is anything but arbitrary, Chris, and also very cool.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      There’s nothing arbitrary about how great your comments are, Ann.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge