There’s Something About Summer
I think it’s the blueberries.
Or the way lightning strobe-lights the sky on a humid night.
It could be the almost shapeless sense of time that is July, yawning and suspended in between the radishes we ate in June and the spiral notebooks and backpacks waiting to go on sale in August.
Or days when we’re one gill away from being fish—the ground below us is wet, the air is thick with moisture, and the rain keeps coming down. We’re inhaling water, walking through water, becoming water.
Then there are the fireflies…glittery diamonds on the tall grass, or the newly-mown grass, only slightly diminished in numbers but just as determined to find a date before dawn.
It’s squeezing in another week-long trip with the children in tow, passing plastic cups of juice and Cheerios to the back seat and pointing out a rare galloping horse when most of the cows just stand amidst the scenery in perfect stillness as you drive by.
It’s farmer’s markets in full tomato-y bloom, with Bull’s Blood beets and basil on the heels of a late crop of rhubarb and the promise of sweet corn.
And what about those towering and billowy clouds, defying gravity and unfolding from some secret place within, changing from dragons to bunnies in the blink of a 4-year-old’s watchful and delighted eye.
It’s feet on the grass and the soil, not a flip-flop anywhere in sight.
It’s pool noodles and block parties and yard sales and people being neighborly.
It’s the perfectly-timed breeze that brushes the sweat from a highway worker’s forehead and makes her smile as rush hour traffic crawls by.
And it’s ice rattling in the tumblers that hold colorful blackberry mojitos, or cucumbers and mint floating in a gallon-sized glass jar of chilled water, a silver spout at the ready to offer relief.
Spring’s baby bunnies are now fully-grown and gamboling about the lettuce rows on the other side of the chicken wire fence we thought was rabbit-proof.
Equine and dairy and goat princesses stroll the dirt paths at county fairs in between the Tilt-a-Whirl and the ring toss game stand, in sleeveless sundresses, wave from hay wagons and spoon snow cones into smiling mouths.
It’s toddler and adolescent heads bobbing in the public swimming pool down the street from where you live, munching on pretzel rods during the 15-minute breaks when the grown-ups get the deep end all to themselves.
It’s setting the table at 9:30 and eating dinner at 10:30 because heck, the sun just went down forty-five minutes ago and who cares if we leave the dishes soaking in the sink until morning? What’s the rush?
What summer gives us unrestrainedly is permission to slow down our gait, to dawdle and trail our fingers in the lake of utter relaxation, all entitled and guilt-free after a hard winter and a non-stop spring. The invitation to bare our shoulders to the sun is irresistible and so we do just that, and keep the bottle of aloe gel in the fridge in case we forget to come in before sunset. Surrounded by everything green, and riots of floral colors, we sink in up to our chins and float, watching as our more industrious agendas blur at the edges. They’ll return soon enough, just as soon as we get lunches packed and the kids on the bus.
For now, eat the blueberries and go barefoot. You won’t regret it.