The other day I was looking out my office window, watching people over on the golf course across the street (no, I do not spend all day gazing out the window...I do get work done sometimes) and something about the light brought back vivid memories of the feeling of the begin of summer when I was a kid. That last day of school when it seemed like the summer stretched out before me forever like a kind of magical promise. I loved it. And in my memory, summer really was magical and idyllic. The days were filled with playing in the hot sun under the Florida skies and then taking refuge inside with a book on afternoons when amazing and beautiful thunderstorms would roll through, bringing in their wake that golden light that touches the summer evenings as the sun starts to set and then the lightening bugs that come in the dusk. As we got older those afternoons included skiing and tubing and swimming in our lake until our fingers and toes shriveled. Weeks spent at the beach with the Shump girls, smeared with zinc (I have pictures to prove the smearing) and baking our skin to golden brown (or probably, in my case, more like a certain shade of red) that would bring a spattering of freckles and hair bleached blond. Picking cat tails, scooping up tad poles to put in a tank in our room and revel in watching as they went through their process of becoming frogs (at which point, my mama would insist that they all go back outside). Swinging so high on our swing set that we would go above the top cross bar and there would be slack in the chains before jumping and seeing who could leap the farthest. Climbing trees, roller skates, my bike with the banana seat with daisies on it, riding on the city bus with my mama and siblings downtown to the big library that was a certain kind of magic all its own to this bookwormy girl. Three weeks at a time spent at the cabin where we roamed the mountain sides like little hooligans, sliding down dirt hills, playing in creeks, picking blackberries, playing sardines, soaring out over the hillside on the Henizes wonderful swing, floating down the river in our tubes, sliding down the "Posey Hole" into the cold, cold waters below, evenings playing spoons and Mille Bornes and nights spent listening to the soft patter of rain on the tin roof. There were even the two summers in a row when I was 9 and then 10, that I got to spend two and then three weeks, respectively, at Camp Dovewood, riding horses, swimming, boating, camping and more riding and then the next summer when we had our very own "Camp Kent" with us and the Shump girls sleeping in our pop up camper in the backyard and spending our days filled with all kinds of activities our mothers came up with. One of those activities just happened to be sewing my very own pair of really awesome jams. Remember jams?!
I know there must have been times interspersed with everything else when I complained I was bored, or was made to do chores I hated, or fought with my sisters or brother. But overall, summer was spectacular in my memory. My mom was a stay at home mom and she always looked forward to having us all home with her. And she always had so much she wanted to do with us.
What I realized as I thought about those summers is that, in a way, I still feel that way about summer. I'm not a huge fan of hot weather, but I do enjoy the many things there are to do in summers. Cookouts with friends, festivals and outdoor plays, weekend afternoons by a pool, the satisfaction of growing my very own tomatoes and herbs, baseball games and a chilled glass of wine. Sitting with friends or family in a darkened back yard with strings of white lights glowing on us. Those are the magical moments these days. And I hope I will remember to cherish them all. Maybe if I do, I won't mind the crazy heat so much. And really, heat or not, nothing makes me happier than nights like the ones in the photo below. It remains one of the best al fresco dinner evenings EVER. I just wish I'd gotten pictures of my bbq the other night where our magic had more than the usual dose of hot and sticky mixed in, but we consoled ourselves with $0.99 fans from World Market and glasses of minty peach mojitos. YUM!
Here's hoping your summer has been and continues to be filled with golden light and magical moments!