Summer Doldrums


07.24.14  The Nor’easter once raced in the America’s Cup in the 1930’s.  The baby blue hull and ivory sails are a sight to behold when the sun catches her on the water.  She belongs to the Lodge, north of us on the lake, and sailing is included as one of the activities for families staying there.  If there’s extra room, the general public can pay to go out for a few hours with the guests and crew.  It’s a grand experience on a windy day.  There have been many times I’ve been walking through my house, with all the doors and windows open, and I hear the luffing of sails when she is jibing or tacking away from our shoreline.  It’s a thrilling sound and I always run down the lawn to get a close-up view.  In another month or so, she will be dry-docked for the long cold winter.

Yesterday, Sarah said it was hot and humid in DC, slow at work, and with two weeks to go before they come out here to the lake, she was in the Summer Doldrums.  I’ve always thought that nautical term was so wonderfully descriptive of the feeling which would come over me in August when we lived in Boston.  Like a sailboat, trapped in calm waters when the winds disappeared, I remember the listlessness and stagnation of the Dog Days of hot and humid August when the late afternoons and evenings just dragged on until bedtime.  I would take the little girls for ice cream cones at Friendly’s after dinner and most of it would melt down their forearms.  Back at home, they’d play in the bathtub while the attic fan roared and sucked out the hot hair which had accumulated all day.  When I read their bedtime story, the window shades, backlit by golden humid light, would slap against the screens.  I suppose I probably spent the remainder of the evening down in the cool family room, watching TV, and I remember the fireflies on the dark hillside outside the little screened-in porch surrounded by boxwood hedges.  It was almost melancholy, but not quite that strong.  It just seemed like things would never change and time had totally stopped.  In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge said it best:

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, no breath no motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

I can’t remember the last time I experienced the Summer Doldrums.  I kinda miss them.

“Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s