Eyre Affairs

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Rest during the hot hours..." ~ Jane Eyre

My favorite lines about the heat of summer come from Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird: Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum powder.

As I sit here, eating cooling off on coffee ice cream on the first full day of summer, I am thinking about moments in the summer that are the most pleasurable aspects of the season. There are so many, whether it is sipping iced tea from the bagel store in a huge white styrofoam cup, burrowing under layers of blankets while the air conditioner blasts all night, sitting in Yankee stadium on a midsummer's eve sipping beer, or watching fireflies in the backyard after a walk around the neighborhood.

My favorite moment of summer that is most pleasurable is taking a shower after a day at the beach.

I love the moment of entering my apartment after a day at Nickerson Beach.

My hair is usually in a tight bun, still doused with tons of conditioner left in from the early part of the day. I slip my flip-flops off; there is still a sprinkling of sand on top of my feet despite trying to rub most of it off back in the beach parking lot with talcum powder. The gleam of my colored toenails is usually lost in the abrasive wet sand; a small price to pay for such a beautiful beach day. I place my beachbag down by the door, careful not to bring any sand into the apartment. I immediately head to the shower, carefully placing my swimsuit on the towel rack to be washed out later of all the sunblock that it absorbed. I turn the water on and wait for the temperature to become warm.

The initial moment of stepping in the shower is my favorite. The taste salt on my upper lip for the last time as well as smell the coco butter from the sunblock; both reach a crescendo. Within a few moments, both dissipate and are gone. The salt which flattened my hair drips down the drain, along with the sand that was stuck in the thick pockets of it. My curls then revive, and the thick scent of a lavender body wash becomes overpowering. The last of the sand from Nickerson is scrubbed off of the tops of my toes, and I begin to notice how dark my olive skin has turned despite wearing spf 30.

I like to stay in my bathrobe for a long time after I exit the shower on beach days. I turn on the air conditioner, lie on my couch, drink a beer, and inhale aloe moisturizer. Sometimes I nap, other times I grab the book I was reading at the beach that still has sand stuck in its pages.

There is an outdoor shower at J.Sarah's family house in Sag Harbor which I am always too chicken to use when I stay out there. I love the main bathroom in the house; its completely white. Showering after beach days in Sag are favorite moments, too, because sometimes we dressed up afterwards to go out to dinner at places like Almondito or the Palm, showing off our beach glows and drinking cold cocktails.

I know showering sounds like an odd choice for a favorite moment of summer, but I am sure there are other favorite moments that others have that are unique and pleasurable that I would enjoy hearing about...

8 Comments:

Blogger Marty said...

My favorite shower is the one you take after mowing. Cause it's so nice to get so CLEAN, after being so "Grassy." :)

Favorite summer memory?
Playing outside all evening with my brothers, in open fields and woods. They never let me be Indiana Jones. Damn them. (JK) We'd rip and run until it got dark, and STILL didn't want to come in. But alas, there were showers waiting for us...

(See! I brought it back around to showers!)

10:33 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Once again - your way with words is amazing. I laughed at the quote at the beginning "Rest during the hot hours" It is alays the hot hours here now...

1:24 AM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

I love the shower after the beach too-- of course, my experience is usually at a beach house so there is dressing for cocktails after. I love that too. I do not think picking a shower is strange at all, and your descriptions were perfect!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Even though the heat has become near unbearable down here, the first blast of heat when you walk out of a cold building into the sun feels like a shot of life.

This is going to sound silly, but I love the sting of the sun on my shoulders when I walk out of work to go to lunch.

I love putting sunscreen on my mom's back and having caraway cheese and crackers at the pool with her.

Ahhhh, so many good things about the summer!

I'm jealous that you live so close to the beach, Amy... I have to go to the concrete beach... :(

9:06 AM  
Blogger afromabq said...

cannot agree w/you more!! a shower after a day at the beach is absolutely the best feeling and getting ready to go out makes it even better! how awesome a feeling of having that glow just dripping off me for the rest of the evening! i'm headed to san diego end of next week and i'll get to experience this all over again. i'll think of you when i hit the shower after a day at the beach!

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

I LOVE the beach. The feeling of the salt tightening on your skin as the water evaporates is one of my favorite childhood memories. I love how great my hair looks after a day at the beach, and how I can scratch my head and get little particles of sand under my fingernails.

I love the smell of the beach and sunscreen, especially. Just smelling sunscreen takes me all the way back to when I was a little kid.

Favorite memory? Laying next to my dad under a big umbrella and sipping homemade limeade from a cup we all share. My mom is reading a book and sunning herself, and she occasionally looks up at us and smiles.

11:39 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

marty: its funny you mention grass, because i remember the gap had a scent called "grass"! how insane is that? you cut the grass, shower, than reapply the smell?!?

barry: i know its scorching there. keep drinking water and keep cool thoughts. i think of all of you over there in this heat.

kels: ahhh...dressing for cocktails. i have gatsby images in my head after your comment!

heather: i love the imagery of you and your mom eating carraway cheese and crackers poolside. that is a post right there, my dear! YOU HAVE TO COME TO NEW YORK THIS SUMMER! Miltman can come, too! :)

afromabq: oooo have fun in san diego! its so pretty there; enjoy the beaches and the churros! mmmm. had to mention churros.

ariella: i loved your imagery of sand underneath the fingernails! oh dear, you know i want that homemade limeade recipe! the sharing of the cup is the best. you need to make a post about that memory.

8:34 PM  
Blogger ThoughtsGalore said...

Love the after the beach feeling! I'm soooo glad you're now getting to enjoy summer. So, you have the whole summer off?! Fabulous!

Enjoy the time off my friend.
xoxo
C

10:26 AM  

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