REFLECTION: Save it for a snowy day

headshot_Cameron Gorman

Cameron Gorman

The summer has a way of making things hazy. It certainly did with this past one, for me. Maybe the heat finally got to my head, or the amount of pizza I was eating made its way into my brain. Either way, there’s no denying that, in a place like New York, the summer feels like a fever dream.

It’s no different in Ohio. Maybe it’s the way that we non-Californians bemoan the winter weather, or the memorable sound of salt crunching under our feet when walking around, but sometimes I feel as though the winter is the true default environment of the area. Think about it: Doesn’t it always sort of feel like you’re remembering summer? It’s almost always a want, a wish, a memory. The winter is different. It’s a here and now sort of thing, an in-your-face sort of feeling. While the summer drifts by us, gently, the winter makes sure we can feel it bite.

Whatever it is, summer certainly has a way of opening up the mind. The outdoors seems closer and less alien to us. We can walk barefoot across the ground, feeling the earth with our skin. We can linger longer outside the thrum and bustle of houses and buildings. I wonder sometimes if any of these feelings were part of the forces that pushed me into the magic shop.

It was eye-catching, certainly — the gum-stained sidewalk gave way to a large cutout of a crescent moon, the window bays strewn with items. I suppose something in me knew it was necessary to stop in. I like to think I was right. Inside were two black cats, freely roaming the store. Candles lined some walls — some carved, some not — and books lined others. Across the way were jars upon jars of loose, labeled herbs, and near them, a desk where a man turned down last-minute schedulings for Tarot readings.

Why was I there? I found myself standing for longer than I can remember, waiting for something to catch my eye — and it did.

In childhood, I think, it is easier for the summer to intoxicate us. Nothing stands between the warm air and our bedrooms — lazy mornings, no sense of guilt for watching the sun become fuller in the sky. In that moment, I think I remembered more deeply than I had in years those moments: running in the woods bare-legged, eating cucumber sandwiches, placing candles in the grass by a tree in my grandmother’s yard. I held the book in my hands for a while, and then I bought it. I read it in Tompkins Square Park, on a bench, and I remember looking at each person as they passed me. What did they remember about summer? About magic?

Cameron Gorman is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]