When I was nine or ten, an idea struck me sometime around February. I wanted to put on my boots and gloves, trek through the drifts, and form an arsenal of snowballs. Then I could gather those snowballs, pop them into the freezer, and store them until sometime after the Fourth of July. Once the summer arrived and the humidity was thick enough to scoop it with a spoon, I imagined inviting family and friends over for a snowball fight. In shorts and flip-flops, we’d hurl the snowballs through the air, feeling the temperatures drop with each frosty hit until the humidity melted away like the snowballs themselves.
In reality, our freezer didn’t have room for dozens and dozens of snowballs. Plus, I was warned that by July those snowballs would be ice blocks. Still, it is an interesting thought…
As sledding and snowball fights are to a winter’s day, what if we could take the best of other seasons and offer it to another as a gift? When crisp autumn leaves blow to the ground, what if we could give ourselves a bouquet of lilacs from the prior spring? Or what if in the depths of a blizzard, we could gift ourselves a still warm, ripe-off-the-vine summer tomato?
If I could pack a time capsule for myself with all of summer’s best, I would pack up the juiciest of watermelons, corn on the cob, a basket of tender peaches and delicate figs, and a handful of fragrant basil. I’d open two mason jars and fill one with the scent of freshly cut grass and the other with the scent of food cooking on the grill. I’d pack up that delicious heavy feeling that you get from a long day of biking or boating or hiking, making it wonderfully easy to sleep that night with open windows, while the crickets sing love songs just outside.
And when I opened my time capsule in the darkest months of the year, I would lay out a blanket and have a living room picnic. After I was done, warm from the afterglow of summer, I’d put on my boots and gloves and trek outside through the drifts to roll a snowball and pop it in the freezer, because every yin needs a yang. And just as a sweet tomato is made noticeably sweeter by way of a splash of vinegar, so is the summer’s sun made ever sweeter by the knowledge of how fleeting it is by its very nature.