Tag Archive | summer

Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

This is the winter of our discontent.   The storms that pelt against the windows, shellac the grounds with ice, and fog in the small aircraft, are mere reflections of the inner turmoil we are feeling.

Perhaps the last time you felt good about job opportunities and housing prices, the critical thinking skills our children are learning, the national budget and the cost of preventive and healing medical care is too long ago to really remember.  Or, maybe, you never felt these things.  Ever.

The absolutely astounding thing about these things is that we never stop wanting them.  Of course, it eventually becomes harder and nearly impossible to retain hope for an easier and less costly way to live the American dream of a high quality life.  You try to stay positive through months of job searching; you avert your eyes at all the foreclosure signs in the neighborhood; you refuse to watch Fox channel’s biased and unfair news or NBC’s news sound bites between unlimited commercial breaks; you try not to count the zeroes in the national debt figure (twelve); and, you pray fervently you don’t get sick and need a doctor or operation.

It’s exactly this effort that makes it virtually impossible to be content and peaceful throughout your day.

I remember being peaceful, once.

It was about a hundred years ago when I was nine years old.  My best friend was out with her folks and I was bored.  I wanted to ditch my older brother who could be such a nuisance some times and have some peace and quiet.  I felt it best not to ask permission to leave the house for a while, as I probably wouldn’t get it and would instead be put to work sweeping the kitchen floor or babysitting my baby brother.   I casually sauntered across the living room floor acting cool, and made it to the screen door without incident.  I stood there for just long enough looking uninterested, then slowly pushed open the door.  I was soon outside on the porch.  Made it!  I took off at a fast pace across the lawn, onto the sidewalk and around the corner.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning in early summer.  The birds were happily singing and hardly anyone was outside yet, which was just perfect.  I lived in a very small town where everyone knew everyone else and would tattle to my parents if they thought I was wandering too far from home and getting into trouble.

I walked the two blocks to the main part of town and took a right.  I was into my rhythm now.  Not too many people hung around the car repair shop or the farm implement store, and the tavern wasn’t open yet.  I started to skip down the sidewalk.  Right before the street ended, I stopped at Almira’s yard and picked myself a few grapes.  She was an old spinster lady who was always nice to us kids, so I knew she wouldn’t mind if I helped myself.

I kept walking past the dead end and right up to the wooden fence.  I scanned the pasture and smiled:  the cows were gone and the bull was nowhere to be seen.  I climbed over, jumping to the ground.  I steadied myself and walked purposefully across the flat grazing land, heading straight for the little creek.  I knew exactly where the spring  fed into the creek bed and helped myself to a few handfuls of fresh water.

After I had refreshed myself, I reached down and picked a few sweet purple clover buds.  A short time later I had made it to a small hill and was settling my little frame onto the grassy patch by the big bush.  I could see the entire town from here, and more importantly, if the bull decided to come by.  I wasn’t afraid of cows, I rode them on my uncle’s farm when no one was looking.  I would have preferred a horse, but I made do with what was available.  But a bull was an entirely different proposition.

I munched on the clover and then laid back for a rest, my arms up and my head on my hands.  The sky was a beautiful blue and the clouds seemed whiter and fluffier than usual.   A gentle, wispy breeze blew across my face like angel wings.  Immediately, a wave of enormous joy rolled over my little body and I felt one with everything, and everything was perfect, so I must be, too.

I thought great thoughts that day while looking up.  I just knew everything was going to turn out just perfect.  I’d have a great teacher that fall and I’d be really smart in class, maybe one of the smartest.  I wouldn’t fight with my brother nearly so much and I’d get a new dress to wear every Sunday for church.  Oh.  And a horse.  I’d definitely end up owning a horse.

When it was time to go back home, I was peaceful and content.  I got myself up, walked back across the pasture, climbed over the fence and began to walk the four blocks to home.  I waved to my neighbors as I passed them.  I was feeling pretty cocky because everything was going to be so perfect.

I often wish I was nine again, drinking fresh, clean spring water, crossing an open field of clover, thinking wonderful thoughts about my life and everything in it.  Instead, I have to be content remembering instead of being, feeling grateful that it all comes back to me so easily.  Once you know what peace truly feels like, you never stop trying to live it.  That’s a wonderful gift for a nine year old to give to the world; well…mine, any way.

Something good is going to happen next year.  I can see it in the sky.

— ( c ) St. John 2011

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Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Hot Days of Summer

The air chokes with heat.  Not a leaf or parched blade of grass is moving.

The lone tomato plant in the pot guzzles water for its six clusters of small green orbs.  Tiny yellow flowers announce more orbs will be arriving soon.  Four days ago the peppers  were no bigger than a fat thumb.  Now they are almost as large as my palm.  How do they do that??  How does a flower or tiny thing change into a substantial, edible vegetable so quickly and wondrously?

Clearly, my plants are loving the heat, the blistering rays of the sun, the hugs of the stifling air.  Remarkable.  As a human, wilting in the early morning, I am humbled by the power of nature to win out.

My scalp beings to sweat and I have only been in my patio chair for three minutes.  It feels like someone has placed a wool blanket over my bare legs.  My skin is beginning to feel oppressed.

The grounds are so ugly now.  Little band-aids of green will soon disappear into the dry, mustard yellow brown of a scorched earth.

Cicadas are screaming, competing to be heard above the traffic, and they win.  The high pitched vibrations drown out the tire and engine noises from the nearby pavement.

A bright, beautiful red male cardinal lands on the corner of the balcony.

I swear, its eyes looked disapprovingly at me.

The cardinal flits away to a nearby branch and waits.

He has me well trained.  I place a handful of seeds on the corner of the balcony railing.   OOPS.  The “rules” here prohibit kindness to birds, but I sneak a bit of it in any way.  Some rules are just stupid.  I know of no one who can resist beauty, especially when it comes around just for you.  And he is gorgeous.

My entire body is beginning to melt.

I am going to celebrate summer today.  I will purchase a bag of lemons and squeeze all the juice out of them.  I’ll pour in some sugar — the natural, healthier, Dr. Oz kind.  I’ll get unhealthy brats, some peppers and onion, and fat hoagie buns and grill the brats in the corner of the balcony that will still be in shade at lunch time.  We’ll drink up the cold lemonade and eat the brats.  I will remember how my nine-year-old self didn’t give a hoot how hot it got in the summer.  There was no school and I was with my best friend.

Yep.  It’s time to celebrate what is; and summer…in spite of its current drought and brutal temperatures..has alot to offer.

Cheers.