When I picture time passing, I think of a calendar — specifically, a full-year calendar printed on one page, the sort that a bank or a restaurant might hand out as a freebie, emblazoned with its logo.
The year is laid out as a grid: three rows, four months to a row. I picture each row as seasons elapsing: The top row starts mostly cold and dreary with January, but by the end of the row, in April, it’s milder and brighter and there’s this feeling of almost arriving into the second row, where things open up. May through August is the marrow of the year, when daylight is at its maximum, when things feel a little looser and more possible. The middle row is, for summer partisans, really the only row worth languishing in.
However you picture time, you probably have a distinct feeling about this weekend, Memorial Day, summer’s unofficial start. Disbelief seems to be the prevailing response this year: How can it be summer again, where has the time gone? “Time’s a flat circle, a record spinning, always and forever returning to its start,” my colleague Sam Sifton wrote in the Cooking newsletter yesterday, and he’s right. We’re still figuring out the tricks time pulled over the past few years, how it stretched and contracted, sped up and slowed and there was, for a while there, time to contemplate it.
Ready or not, it’s summer again. The calendar has decreed it — even if the weather or your wardrobe or your kids or your garden aren’t ready. Memorial Day weekend forces a mind-set shift. Beaches open up, mattresses are on sale, you
If it all feels too abrupt and you’re struggling to catch up, might I suggest planning your summer movie schedule? I’ve been patiently awaiting Nicole Holofcener’s latest, “You Hurt My Feelings,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies, which opens this weekend. Other highlights: John Slattery directs Jon Hamm and Tina Fey in “Maggie Moore(s),” opening on June 16. There’s a Wham! documentary coming to Netflix on July 5. “Indiana Jones” arrives on June 30, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” on July 21.
We’ve also got a bunch of selections for your beach- or park- or couch-reading pleasure: Try a thriller, a romance, perhaps an audiobook? The two audiobooks on our list that are about birds sound enchanting and seasonally appropriate.
And of course, there’s always summer’s unofficial (or perhaps it’s official?) fruit, the strawberry, which stars in three Melissa Clark recipes, each of which seems poised to join Jerrelle Guy’s strawberry spoon cake in my personal pantheon of the world’s best desserts.