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  • Ericca Latza

8.25.20// dog days of Quarantine

August has always seemed to me to be the fastest month of the twelve. As a kid, 8/1 usually meant weekend trips to Hanes Mall in Winston Salem. My mom was a teacher so while she ticked items off of her back to school list, I wandered the isles of Earthbound and Hot Topic (because if I had it my way I would have bought them out of tie dye pants and Green Day shirts...but it was mostly mom's way and we love her for it). We would battle crowds at Target for glitter pens and 3-ring binders that had the sleeves in the front so I could "decorate them myself".

On top of the hustle of the looming semester, I'm also a Leo. My birthday falls in the middle of the hottest month of the southern year, and I used to wish away the first 12 days like life depended on it.

August has always held a sense of urgency for me while I counted down the days left of freedom. Even when I moved away from home, the thought of losing heat and daylight made my heart squeeze. I've always made a point to take time in between the crazy this month holds to soak up some last minute goodness. Things like catching an extra sunset over some water, or laying in grass that's still my favorite shade of green.

This version of August has been no different. My planner has stayed booked, and I can see Fall move a little closer on every 75 degree day. This year's birthday came and went over the course of a co-write and girls night, and now 24 is here.

If I've learned anything from this pandemic, it's to take more time to live and not just exist. So to close out the dog days of summer, I've carved out a whole 5 days of nothing but rest, food, and friends --- the 3 ingredients that speak right to my heart. How did I kick of this 5 day stay-cay you ask? Enter stage right: Carson Hill.

This woman slid into my life and might as well have been wearing a cape. She's been in town for 4 years to my 1.5, and our paths finally crossed at the tail end of 2019. Since then we've racked up plenty of adventures, and when she called with the idea of a pool day last weekend I cleared whatever I had planned and took a mental health afternoon.

I showed up at her house 20 minutes later with Tupperware containers of redneck margaritas and glasses wrapped in dollar general bags--proof that you can take the girl out of the backwoods, but can't take the backwoods out of the girl.

We fell into an easy routine of pour, sip, dip, and then stretch out to dry. We played volleyball and convinced ourselves that the exercise of treading water cancels out the margarita calories. At one point we were hanging onto the wall of the deep end, wondering if we'd actually ask the cute guys across from us to play mermaids if we were dared to-- and then it hit me. That whole afternoon had been a "soak up the moment" kind of feeling in between the urgency of the month. I asked Carson, "Do you ever get this feeling like...you know everything is going to be okay?"

This question naturally led us back to the redneck hydration station, where we finished our drinks. That feeling of slowing down for what might have been one of my favorite pool days ever was something I wasn't ready to let go of. So I didn't.

Now I'm looking at my planner I have 5 little boxes free and clear. One of my favorite people is coming from North Carolina to see this city call home now. Carson and I have planed out a farmers market trip and I get to play a show that doesn't even come close to counting as work because of how much I love it.

I would love to tell me from 10 years ago about what this month looks like a decade later for us, but she's probably just running around Mount Airy High with her eyes glued to her freshman schedule. Truth is, this is the first August that the clock hasn't ticked so loudly. I'm writing this the day before the hiatus to say goodbye to the last of the dog days of summer, and I can't help but still feel the way I did at the pool last weekend. Like...you know everything is going to be okay.



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