The anticipation of it is marked on the white board in my classroom: 10, 9 , 8, 7, 6… 1 more day until summer.
And, finally– ahhhh– it’s here. The thing about summer is all the possibilities that await. Eight weeks of whatever I want to do until having to even think about the reality of the day and the schedule and the plan and the obligations and the routine.
Summer.: luxuriously looking ahead, like peaking around the corner anticipating a surprise.
It’s waking up when my body tells me to and I’m not dictated by the deafening sound of an alarm. Taking the time to brew my morning coffee and fix a breakfast of assorted, shiny, juicy fruits, inviting my teeth to sink in, then sitting on the back porch with the morning sun squinting my eyes because they are fully awake, while I enjoy my breakfast and the sounds of the birds, and silence.
It’s planting and sowing, dirt under my fingers, as I dig into the cold soil– loosen the roots at the base of the flowers that had been tightly tucked into flats. I free them as I insert them into the hole I dug with my bare hands, pressing the moss and potting soil around them– giving them the security they need to flourish, amidst the symphony of complimenting flowers or herbs or grasses or greens which surround them. I care for them all summer long like children, nourishing them, nurturing them, appreciating their beauty.
It’s taking the time to sit at my computer and write… whatever I want to write: an inspired poem, a reflective blog, or a novel with all the complexities of an imagined world that lives, breathes, and unfolds in my head.
It’s sitting in the lounge by the pool at the right hours of sun to tan my body while I lose myself in an all-encompassing book; then, when I get too hot or find my eyes growing tired, I rise to stand at the foot of the pool, considering for just a moment how the cool water will feel on my skin, refreshing, before diving in. I always swim, at first, to feel the blood flowing and muscles stretching before laying back atop the water, reminiscing of my synchronized swimming days when I danced in the water all summer long.
It’s sauntering at the grocer’s, choosing this vegetable or that, after picking it up in my hand, feeling it’s stage of ripeness, considering how I’d use it in a meal and what to balance with what. It’s returning home, picking the herbs from my garden, turning on a play list which mirrors my mood, only to flutter about the kitchen while cooking my meal into a presentation that makes mouths water.
It’s the sun setting, coolness of the night air, when I look up the stars– linger, and wonder if they are watching me too. The cicadas sing the melody of summer nights and the fireflies light up the darkness descending.
It’s the mojito (crisp rum, bright green mint leaves, a stick of sugar cane) standing on the table in front of me, inviting me to sip, tasting the cold sweetness in my mouth: almost instantaneous relaxation. Across from me, a friend whose conversation I become lost in, one who evokes laughter and responds to my words with the same. We lose track of time and atmosphere, living in the moment.
It’s the sounds of the docks as we approach the boat: bells clanging, seagulls squawking, motors running, waves lapping. Once we are out on the water, it becomes all about the sights… the shore becoming smaller and the water, vaster in our vision, surrounding us. We lose ourselves in the comforting rock of the boat as we drift…
It’s all the pretty colors exploding in the sky. Waiting far away from the launching, to protect us from rogue vessels, we watch the set up, follow the spark as it touches the wick, and it winds in a circular motion up, up, up, until we lose it & and suddenly, it erupts fountains, a majestic tapestry of reds, yellows, oranges, gold, greens, blues, arcing, and then gracefully falling, eventually disappearing into the night sky.
It’s the salt scent that fills the air as we approach our summer sanctuary at theCape. Each year, I open the front door, full of the same eagerness as the first time we vacationed here– 28 years ago. The familiarity flushing a calm through me, unmatched by any other place in the world. We resettle our things before opening the sliding glass doors to the hot sand and the crisp blue bay whose waves rush up to greet us as we stand on the edge of where earth and water meet. Feeling the fawn-colored, granules stick to our tender feet, only to be washed away as we stand up to our ankles letting the undertow sink our feet in. We have arrived.
It’s watching our grown children, working together, as architects of the greatest sand castle of the summer. They work, often, silently; their rhythms in sync after all these years of honing their craft. There is the water gatherer, the shell collector/designer, and the dumper of the assorted molds of packed sand. Standing back, they admire their work, as I admire my own.
It’s waking up, lazily, still drowsy, to the sights and sounds of the water slapping the shore and the boats of the neighboring yacht club rocking like cradles. And the sun… oh, the morning sun, is the most prominent feature of our summer home. The way it rises in the sky, bright orange and yellow, rising up, casting its morning glow like a promise in front of me.
The arrival of mums at the town nursery is the first indication of summer’s end. They are potted, neatly in rows, awaiting the stage of maturation which makes them appealing for selling. I, of course, will buy these mums, but never before school has begun. I see it as some kind of slap in the face to summer.
And, then, there are the dreaded letters I receive: two of them, one from the principal and one from the superintendent, both welcoming us back to another school year. I know their contents: I stammer to open each of them, sometimes I get so daring as to leave them unopened on the table for days, but they stare at me– a haunting reality of the end of summer’s simplicities.