Summertime was once a never-ending body of clear, dazzling pool water, an expansive vessel made to contain all your school year fetishes of boredom and procrastination. When was the last time you floated to the surface, unbothered by the gravity of to-do lists? Let the smell of chlorine and sunscreen melted into half-burnt skin take your mind off your mundane worries, if just for an afternoon.
After spending the first balmy Sunday of many in Chinatown with my friend Grace, searching for cheap sunglasses that belonged in a slow-paced Taiwanese movie, we settled for a meal of vegetarian dim sum and discussed our plans for summer in the city. I had just renewed the lease for my sun-filled apartment in Brooklyn while she planned to crash at a friend’s dorm, going home to Long Island on the weekends. As we DM’d each other fliers of local parties hosted by queer artist collectives and dreamed of having lean, muscular arms, I began to look forward to a summer of comraderie and love.
In her newly-released book, Wade in the Water, U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith’s juxtaposes the massive weight of systematic violence towards black youths with gracefully bright and razor-sharp imagery, nevertheless reminding us that the complete narrative of grief and injustice must be addressed. A similar sentiment resurfaced to me in Vox’s brilliant Displaced podcast, which discusses how peoples impacted by global conflicts are forced into exile, becoming refugees of the world, and how we may respond to crisis with innovative, helpful solutions.
There is so much beauty we take granted for, namely, finding the perfect pair of glasses, supermodels in sequined dresses, and drumsticks fried in savory cornstarch. While there is no time more perfect than a breezy June evening to indulge in some of life’s greatest pleasures, I hope to use my precious moments of solace in the next few months to read, listen, and educate myself about ways to to extend the love I’ve received to my community and especially individuals in need of emotional solidarity.