The Last Summer…Ever

It’s the first day of autumn in 2016, and thus no better time to write about the uncomfortable intuition that I’ve carried with me since the weather turned warmer: this past summer was the last one…ever.

Of course, the axial tilt of the planet and its stable orbit around the sun more or less guarantees that summer will go on. Obviously, I’m not speaking of the end of summer in a physical sense. I just mean that, as I was living it, the summer of 2016 felt like, and still feels like, the last one that I’ll ever experience…that any of us will experience.

Can’t be true, of course. Who ever truly believes that a time of year can be their last?  Still, the feeling has persisted, all throughout those heat waves, the cold, glistening glasses of beer on the patio, the hikes to see waterfalls and the vain attempts to see meteorites sparkle and streak through unexpectedly rainy skies.

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My mind works much the same as others who are convinced of a radical notion: it starts looking for evidence to support it in my experience, mostly unconsciously. My RAS fixated on conversations in my spiritual groups, to Whitley Strieber’s Unknown Country page that I have been following since the late 1990s, to the resurgence of “The Mandela Effect”, and, inevitably, to the likely possibilities of mental illness and cognitive distortion. Now, as daylight and nighttime share the skies as equal partners for the second of two days this year, this radical notion persists.

What I found was that I was far from the only one who felt unusual. Unfortunately for my empirical sensibilities, almost all of those sources were off in the “groovy” dimension sharing the same intellectual apartment space with chemtrail conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers. Still, it was worth exploring.

One theory, advanced by one of Strieber’s more unique contemporaries, a woman named Starfire Tor who has found a connection between solar activity and shifts in space-time, is that there have been numerous “reboots” of our timeline over the summer and that this usually happens whenever a planet-ending event, such as a nuclear war, has taken place somewhere in a planet’s future.

The Dr. Who-like “edits” to the timeline work backwards from that disastrous future to our present, where changes occur – to events, institutions, even people – to prevent the catastrophe from happening, though like Dr. Who, some events are “fixed” and cannot be altered at all. Because we’re mostly time-bound, we have no idea this is happening, but some of the more sensitive individuals – and there are more of us than I suspect we’d like to admit – still have residual awarenesses of the changes (memories that can’t exist, or inexplicable feelings of unease).

I’ve been aware of my empathic nature for a long time, have been considered “sensitive” since I was a child (and not always in a non-pejorative use of the term) and so that could be one highly-woo-woo explanation for this feeling. And given the qualities of the two presidential candidates running in the U.S election, the spectre of a future apocalypse seems more likely than it has in recent years (Starfire Tor, for one, seems to agree with this notion).

This is, of course, ignoring the climate changes that continue to accelerate (if this past summer proves to be our last, it will also be the hottest ever recorded), as well as the uncomfortable, life-ending realities that have always been around that we prefer not to think about when we’re enjoying cold drinks from our easy-chairs in the sand (asteroid strikes, incurable diseases, gamma ray bursts, etc..).

Of course, it’s also true that my own anxiety-related mental illness grew to its strongest this past summer, and all of this could simply be a form of distorted thinking on my part. The RAS – reticular activating system – will seek out supporting evidence in the environment for whatever pattern you program it with, even if that evidence proves to be bunk.

I suppose, ultimately, the question of whether or not it’s true in reality is irrelevant. What would it matter, anyway, if it was our last summer?

Really, it’s a microcosm of awareness of the overall state of life. I love the summer: I love that we get to bare our skin and not have to wear pants when we head out; that water-side communities fill with people and the smells of cooking and the melodies of street performers; that we can pass entire afternoons barefoot in the grass under a tree, reading books, journalling, or just napping. Or whatever thousand and one things that different people in the northern climes love about the warmer weather.

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The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is strongest for me during the summer. I live in the most populous, southernmost part of Canada: there are always things to see and do when the weather turns warm, so many so that there’s no way you don’t miss out on something somewhere.

And the warm seasons, though growing longer with each year, are still so short…

As I’ve noted before, though, the notion of the multiverse means that part of me always experiences every possibility. (Of course, I’m stuck in this one timeline, though…anyway). As a microcosm of life, though, you have to wonder: if this truly was our last summer, would you be happy with how you lived it?  As a last summer, anything that you missed out on will linger on as a regret you’ll carry with you for the rest of your time, because there’s no opportunity to try again. That’s why FOMO is like a nasty weed that just keeps coming back no matter what you do to the lawn.

I don’t have a lesson for or point to this post aside from the obvious (live to the fullest, blah blah blah), and that’s fine. I’ve gotten back into self-censorship in anticipation of the inevitable disagreement of members of my sparse readership, and I’m trying to break out of that with this entry. But now that this is out of my system, I’m hoping this will go the same was as all of my “summer is ending, winter is coming” posts do, and just fall away in the breeze with all of the other dying leaves of the season now past.

And if this is my last summer, ever, if there’s some sort of life-ending disaster on the horizon that I can’t see, that none of us can see, I for one will carry a near-equal share of regrets and gratitudes, with the scales tipped ever-so-slightly in favour of gratitude.

Much like all of life, in other words: the context of a single season does not change the uncomfortable reality that it’s any one of us at any time, and that it’s always been that way.

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