Synaesthesia Magazine Americana - Page 45

When I think of America, I think of the heat of a New England summer. The way you don't spend time outdoors, but move from one air-conditioned building to another. The way you lie on the floor with your arms and legs outstretched or sleep the afternoon away. I think of the heat of the bench against my legs as I try to eat peanut butter and banana ice cream before it melts.

I think of the merciful coolness of sundown. Of how it doesn't really get cool, but only feels that way. I think of those summer evenings, sat around the table, drinking cans of coca cola and eating slices of greasy cheese pizza. And then, how we drove through the night with the windows down to stand on the shore of lake Winnipesaukee.

When I think of America, I think of rain. I think of how I didn't really believe in rain before. Of how, until I saw a New England summer, there had only been the dream of it. Lightning too. I think of the way those purple cracks tore open the sky and lit up the lake as we sat on the porch.

When I think of America, I think of the quiet relief of the fall. The sun's curtain call between the slow, unwinding summer and the snow that is already gathering far to the north. I think of coffee and cream. Of home fries and omelette and macaroni cheese. I think of the crunch of apples, fresh from the tree, and the tang of pie with cinnamon and ice cream. I think of Sam Adams at the baseball game and peanut shells. I think of the Kancamagus Highway and I can think only of the blur of it – the blue sky, red leaved, happy blur of it. And the cabin by the lake at the end of the road, where we sat and watched the water rippling on the walls.

When I think of America, I think of how unprepared I was for so much light. The way it seemed to touch everything – the meadow, the river, the trees.

But when I think of America, it is winter that sears the most. It is winter that crackles in the memory, like the icicles that hang from the eaves. It is winter that lives in the forests that I return to in my more nostalgic moments. It is a winter of sledding and snowmen. A winter that tastes of Swiss Miss and pineapple. A winter of breath, caught in the air. A winter of dark. A winter of light. A winter of blue. A winter of white. It is a winter that not even two pairs of gloves can keep out. A winter that creaks beneath our boots in the dead of night.

When I think of America, I think of the seasons. I think too of quiet, forgotten spring. The only one I haven't seen.

An America For Every Season

Originally from Manchester, England, Naomi Racz currently lives in Amsterdam. She mainly writes non-fiction essays about nature and sense of place, but occasionally dabbles in poetry and short stories. She blogs at: blacktoprain.wordpress.com.