We have returned from vacation with the types of regrets that generally accompany all summers: We didn’t go swimming enough. We could have grilled more. And while we cherished those moments of Peak Summer, where at one point we simply could not recall the last time we’d put on pants, we could have and should have endeavored to make more of them. But we were thankful for what we had. And still even more thankful, optimistic, that further opportunities lie ahead.
Even so, scrolling across our Facebook feeds the other day, the sight of this man, cruising through the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, made us ache for what we are losing in this very moment. A pre-nostalgia, if you will. For here he is, cruising on a mountain bike, allowing his beloved beagle to steer, it would seem. He is shirtless, and protected by earbuds and helmet alike. Upon interview with the photographer, we learned that he was also singing out loud the music of the Doors. And by every indication, he is free. Let us say that word again: Free.
He is every opportunity we missed this summer.
Now, the phrase “living your best life” is tossed around these days with a frequency that threatens it with impending cliché, while photographic evidence of the act is often missed or misattributed. But people, that is what this is. It is the only thing that this can be a representation of. And so as we move into a busier season — likely a meaner season, if such a thing can be imagined — we are looking at this photo. We’re looking at it hard. We’re looking, we’re learning, and sadly, we’re saying goodbye. Not forever, though. Just for now.