Simple Minds – Someone Somewhere in Summertime

Another song of longing that yet feels like it’s for someone specific, with images and feelings that are so clearly defined that it’s almost like the loved one is already here. When there is already love within, the line between songs of longing and love start to blur.

There is something cinematic about this, and I associate the tune with scenes that felt like that. One is from the time I used to listen to this song a lot: a tiny street in a small town in Wales, the buildings looking taller than they are because the houses were so close, with just enough room for one person to walk and one car to pass, and the street curving so that I’m reminded of a maze, even if there wasn’t enough complexity to get lost. There one evening I was walking briskly in the rain when I saw a couple kissing, oblivious to anything that happened around them. The rain didn’t exist, and the drab little town was transformed into something special. The blue and the gray suddenly more vibrant, full of life, the rain all the more romantic.

I have seen a similar scene only a couple of times. The rain makes it special because it reminds me of what love can be like, how it makes us forget anything that we normally deem bad, like being wet and shivering, because we suddenly have the confidence that no matter what happens, there is someone near, someone who cares, holding hands or kissing. It doesn’t matter if the world is cold and people are indifferent to suffering. If there’s only one person, that is enough, “Burning slow, walking in the soft rain”.

It’s a simple thought: “Somewhere there is someone who can see what I can see” – whatever we see, there is the wish that we could share it. But it’s not at all evident that sharing is possible, because what we hold dearest may be something that others do not even see, at least not in its full significance. Be it kisses in the rain, an iridescent beetle on a forest path, the softness of moss, the shape of a stone perfect to hold, whatever we find beautiful, what makes the world meaningful, we want to share it. There might not be any intrinsic purpose, or even intrinsic beauty: it is all subjective, and thereby we cannot take for granted that others will understand our view. It is such a great experience to feel the beauty of the world, but right next to it is the feeling of loneliness if we are led to believe that no-one else understands, no-one sees it the same way, or even pays attention to it.

And that’s what the song reminds me of. The sounds, the scents of summer: they may be different in each part of the world, like all the things we find significant in the landscape. Some people look at the hills and the horizon, others listen to a blackbird, want to smell the bark of a pine tree. And the most significant thing of all seems to be the moment when you can share these things, experience beauty together. And when a relationship ends, one of the hardest things is that when you have got used to sharing everything, it’s difficult to return to finding significance in all these things in themselves, without the extra jolt from finding wonderment together, in the world, in each other, in yourself.

Golden lights, dreams so real they feel like memories of the future, of all the summers spent together, knowing not who it may be, what forms your journey of mutual discovery may take, where you might find all the beauty that this connectedness, this communication entails. The recognition of hope, intangible, though the dreams take specific shapes only to fade away. The thought remains that it must be real in some form: someone, somewhere in summertime.