The Changing of the Guards

There is a day I dread every year, and I have wished it away since I can remember.

It’s the first day every summer when the newly trained lifeguards twirl their first whistles. It means that the veteran guards have returned to college. That the swim team has disbanded. That the neighborhood kids are all getting reacquainted with their school friends.

It shows when the new, still-in-high-school guards wear their sweatshirts in the suddenly brisk mornings. There is a melancholy in the afternoon light, as if the pool itself knows it will soon be drained, abandoned by its children with only leaves collecting and rotting on the top of the tarp that covers it.

I have nothing against the newly trained guards. I was one once myself a long time ago, eager, alert, proud to be a pool elder, empowered by my new whistle and the height of my chair.

I just know that their first day on the job is the harbinger of the changing seasons, the end of another glorious, happy summer.


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