Maybe it’s something in the air — it definitely was early in the week when it was cool and sunny — or maybe it’s in the way kids seem to be walking a bit more slowly, lost in thoughts. Or maybe it’s just imagination taking over, willing a change of season, even though the calendar says summer will be around for another month.
But what does that mean? The summer of 2019 is slipping away. School is starting, vacations are over and we can sense the days coming when, as Don Henley wrote, “Nobody on the road/ Nobody on the beach/ I feel it in the air/ The summer’s out of reach … the sun goes down alone.”
We’re hearing, of course, about the great event of “Tumbleweed Tuesday,” when all those superfluous people will be leaving us in peace. There is something to that, of course, but “summer people” are a part — an important part — of this place as much as anyone else.
It seems odd to compare a small island to a large city, but it works, taking E. B. White’s template of what makes up the life of New York. White said there are three types of New Yorkers, the native born, the commuter and the person who has come from somewhere else on a “quest” and settled down. All three are necessary for a place to thrive, with the born-and-bred providing stability and continuity, the commuters giving a sense that life is active and not static, and the settlers bringing a passion to the place.
So it is for the Island, and all the talk of “tourons” (tourist/moron) is just snobbery dressed up as authenticity. We all need each other to make the place work.
The long Labor Day weekend will close out something and bring something new, with school opening next week, and the start of the political season here, which looks to be a nasty one. God help us. Give us a touron any time as opposed to a true believer calling down Armageddon if a particular point of view is not recognized as the path to the Promised Land.
We can hope that the youngsters walking along, lost in their thoughts, will have peace enough to find their own paths as the calendar and season turns.