Late Summer

Early September, the tail end of summer on the high plains. Cicadas and crickets sing in the cool night. Overhead the full moon does a strip tease through gauzy layers of cloud. The night is, in a word, magical.

On the radio the plaintive lines of a Bob Seger tune help turn the driver’s eye inward, reflecting on other nights, other late summers. Scenes that happened or may have happened flit through her mind. Maybe they are memories, maybe imagination, yet images still real enough to see, to touch, to taste. Easy to see there, in her memory (or imagination) cars parked in the dark corners of cornfields and hay fields. Young lovers here discover that no book, no lecture, no locker room stories ever compare to the reality. The silken glide of skin that half an hour ago was nothing special, the near all consuming ache “down there” that entices and confuses, the delight in learning she can make a man lose all connection to his logic and become primal. All of it occurs in the movie in her mind with a sound track of “Well I’d stand outside at closing time/Just to watch her walk on past/Unlike all the other ladies, she looked so young and sweet/As she made her way alone down that empty street/Down on main street. . . .”1

They fit – those lines. They fit her mood and hell, there have been times they’ve fit her life. She feels the dancer’s isolation on that empty street. It seems at times all her own streets have been empty, empty of connection, true connection . . . that “thing” that leads humans to shun the hermit’s cave and clump together in hamlets, villages, towns, and cities. It is the same connection that gives many a life companion, a witness to their singular ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. But, for some, the connections are few, if any, and far between. The driver glances again at the moon who is still dancing her strip tease. Would anyone understand how it feels, right now, this second? Is there anyone out there on the other side of the dark that understands what it is she’s seeing?

Soon, the song fades, “And sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat/I drift back in time and I find my feet/Down on main street. . . .”1 and the reverie is broken. Street lights brighten, and it’s time to pay attention to turns and stop signs and the mechanics of driving. And yet, the driver suspects if she turned to look behind she’d see herself walking just as that young dancer does . . . alone in the dark on an empty street.

  1. Bob Seger, 1977, “Down on Main Street.” [song]. Night Moves [Album]

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Tracy LinderTracy Linder considers herself the proverbial “Jack of all trades, Master of none.” At any one time she is a teacher, counselor, wordsmith, classical pianist, vocal soloist (usually in the shower), avid baker, amateur fan of history, film, theater, and every so often finds time to sit quietly with an embroidery hoop. To keep beans on the table and a roof over her head, Tracy feels privileged to work at Pikes Peak Community College in the English and Psychology departments. Between the two they feed her truest love – figuring out why human beings do what they do.