Please don't let this be summerlong

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/08/17 08:30 -04:00, original URI:

Last weekend was an interesting one, to be sure....

First of all, it started on Thursday. I was going down to the Bay Area to visit a friend of mine who had something on his mind, so I took a few days off and headed down. Some of the people I talked to at work were convinced that it was about a job interview (other people I work with were convinced that I was taking the time off to interview!).

As it turns out, my friend was suggesting that I interview, but at two different places -- so the first group was wrong, it was not about a interview. And I decided I was not looking for another job, so the second group was wrong, too -- I did not, in fact, interview anywhere during my trip. And I ended up spending most of Friday at the Unicode Technical Committee meeting (meaning I still can suck at the whole 'taking days off' thing), so there would not have been any time anyway. :-)

But I did get to take a little time off and I even got to see some shows... and had one of those cool moments when a song managed to hit me in just the right way. No, it was not a song by Aimee Mann -- I have heard all of her songs and while I do love them, I have never heard a new one at a show, so when a song from Aimee gets me, it is in the privacy of my own home. Plus with a few exceptions the lyrics usually hit me more at a 'this is a really cool lyric' level than a 'wow, I was there' kind of way; parts of my life are tortured but the pain about which she sings is in most cases not what I feel except when I really stretch the definitions. The associations are usually a lot more subtle.

The singer/songwriter in this case was Kathleen Edwards and the song was 'Summerlong', the theme of which is being in an amazing relationship but then being worried that it seems to the other person to maybe just be a "summer thing" that will end when August does -- thus the plea in the chorus....

There are some things I can hardly say
You've got me feeling a brand new way
Please don't let this be summerlong
'cause I want to stay

You see, one of my first really meaningful relationships which I thought might go the distance had turned out to be a summer thing (from her point of view) and when August was over our plans for after the summer evaporated and she moved away to go to school. When September was halfway over and a good friend was visting from Philly, we drove up to where she was in school and I called, but she did not think seeing each other was a good idea. And I knew it was over. Pretty rough for a young buck who thought he knew everything (as I suppose I was at the time, how were you just before you started college? <grin>), and it shaped a lot of my future life and relationships, probably more than they should have done. Though people had been calling me cynical for years, it certainly gave additional depth to my cynical edge!

Anyway, when I heard Kathleen singing this song (Summerlong) on Friday night it hit me, and it hit me hard. The explanation before the song (that where she grew up in Canada, the weather was such that they were lucky if the summer that felt like a summer would be as long as two weeks) did not deter me, as the words still captured many of my feelings from that time.

I didn't cry or anything but I may have verged on misty for a moment, thinking about what might have been seventeen years prior. Man, I really am getting old....

The next day (Saturday) I was at the Robert Mondavi winery and saw her during the sound check (unusual for the untalentedwashed like me to be at a sound check, but the way the winery is set up there is no other way -- the performers seemed to deal with it okay). After it was over I had a brief chance to talk to her and after turning red over her remembering my name and explaining I was not a stalker which made her smile, I told her about how and why 'Summerlong' had really gotten me, she smiled and talked about she and her husband had actually wondered whether to take that song out of the lineup for these opening shows but now she would leave it in. So maybe my little story is what got to hear her sing it again! Plus I like the songs she played even when she is playing without a band, which is not always the case.

Kathleen Edwards definitely picked up a fan; I've had worse reasons to start following a perfomer before. :-)

# Bobby on 17 Aug 2005 10:39 AM:

Reading those lyrics and the story, it instantly reminded me of a song called "Let it Fall" by Sean Watkins. You'd probably like it too. You can download a live version from the Live Music Archive at

A little back story on the song, it is sung by Glen Phillips but was written by Sean Watkins. It is on Sean Watkins' CD "Let it Fall". This live performance has Glen Phillips playing with the members of Nickel Creek (Sean Watkins is a member of Nickel Creek).

The part of the lyrics your story reminded me of are:

Last summer we left things unsaid
That should be now a long time dead
And now it seems that time has put it well
Words can chase away a friend
But to a lie they'll bring an end
And throw it down the darkest deepest well

Let it Fall
Let go

Please consider a donation to keep this archive running, maintained and free of advertising.
Donate €20 or more to receive an offline copy of the whole archive including all images.

referenced by

2008/04/26 A song that reminds me of a roof (which isn't there, anymore) and a girl (who isn't, either)

2007/10/13 Not exactly a career

2006/04/19 What do the latest episode of Love Monkey, Beth Orton, Kathleen Edwards, Luke Doucet, and Kristin Connell have in common?

go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day