The little countdown timer marking summer's end is beginning to sound faintly in the distance. It's an impulse to work harder, wrap up, go faster, get going, slow down, relax, and appreciate what's around you, all at the same time. It hits most often when I look at people and think about how much longer I have until I leave them behind in Chicago, or how much longer they have before they head back to school or a job or whatever they're doing with their life after what we're doing here ends.

There are some things about this summer I'll be glad to let go of, and there are some things I wish could last - maybe not forever (I'm very hesitant to say I want anything to last forever), but that they could at least last longer. It's the same way whenever something ends. And then you move on. I think I've learned how not to cling to things by now (I think I learned this pretty early on in life), but I still sometimes want to.

And anyhow, if you don't let go at some point of your own accord, something's going to wrench it out of your hands sooner or later; if nothing else, I'll die someday as well. Some things you ought to cling desperately to until you die (like caring for people*, and taking care of your responsibilities, and doing and standing for what you think is right). Most things, though, you have to someday let go, or you'll live in the past forever.

*not to be confused with "taking care of people" - what I mean is a closer synonym to "caring about people" than "protecting them." If you want to protect something, you make sure it has the means to cope with your absence.

I know we explicitly set a sunset clause on everything when we started up ILXO and all the arrangements thereof this summer, and I'm very glad we did, because that's part of what enabled us to make it work. And I told them at the beginning of the summer that I bet I would be sad to see the summer end. And I am. And it was worth it.

This is my equivalent of "better to have loved and lost," except without the sappy overtones (which, actually, aren't necessarily implied in that phrase; there are many kinds of love, and one of them is the kind of love I have for life and living and all that's in it - sometimes I'd say that love and life are so close they blur together and become indistinguishable). And in any case, it's always better to have lived.