We haven’t gone to the beach, or anywhere really, which to me is usually the mark of a great summer, but I think I’m actually having one of my best summers ever. Summer is sort of an abstract concept to me, these days, but it really only relates to the weather. My life is no longer measured in semesters. Claire’s developmental preschool is year round. My husband doesn’t get summers off from the ER, despite my never ending disappointment that only students get a summer break. And after getting over my weirdness about planning fun for just Etta and me because of “guilt” about Claire being “left out,” Etta and I have kind of gotten into a little routine.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove down to my parents’ house to spend some quality time tooling around Lake Hamilton on their super 1970s party barge and trying out my Lil’est Sis’s new tube. The boat, picture this if you will, is known as the Disco Barge. It is avocado green and there are some cracks in the fiberglass canopy. It has no seats, and we sit on the worn astroturfed deck in lawn chairs. However, it has a certain something many boats lack. That something is a disco ball. It doesn’t go very fast, but it goes fast enough, and we cruise around the lake, sipping wine out of mason jars, marveling at the large houses, and, these days, occasionally being tugged behind the boat in a very large tube. It’s great fun. As we cruised around the lake, we pointed out our favorite houses, we laughed at the house with the giant, water-spouting marlin statue on its lakefront, which has been for sale for over a year (apparently the marlin isn’t a selling point?), and we even noticed a giant cloud that looked rather like the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.
Later that evening, as I headed out for my hourlong drive home, that thunderboomer was straight ahead. Lightning crackled across its surface like electric fissures, and flashes from deep within lit portions of the cloud. The round yellow face of a full moon shone from just behind the edge of the massive cloud. I rolled my windows down and the air was thick and humid, but refreshing at ten degrees cooler than it had been earlier in the evening, and it hummed with the sounds of cicadas and tree frogs. I let my hand float outside the window, enjoying the resistance created by my possibly too-fast speed on a dark and windy road. I cranked up some Mumford and Sons, because such a night calls for banjos and belting it out. I sang “rain down, rain down on me” as lightning flashed directly ahead.
Sometimes church is wherever you are. Sometimes it’s oh so sweet to be able to go from the home of my youth to the home of my own.
They say that if you don’t like the weather in Arkansas, wait 5 minutes and it will change. I’m reasonably sure they say this other places too, but we like to pretend we have a lock on weirdly oscillating weather patterns. The reality check, as my mountain man husband likes to remind me, is that places like Denver can have record-setting 84 degree days followed by whiteout snowstorms that cancel Rockies baseball games (true story).
These days it seems Arkansas has decided to skip straight to summer. In the evenings, you can already hear the chorus of cicadas buzzing in the trees (my husband calls them “skeedeedees,” an onomatopoeic word he coined to capture the way they sound, and I love that coinage). As I stood out in the street talking to a neighbor the other night, a mosquito bit my leg. ALREADY. And today, when I was driving down the road, I could see those hazy mirages that form on exceptionally hot asphalt. I glanced at my thermometer and it was 90 degrees.
And while I will absolutely complain about the heat and the humidity and the havoc both wreak on my hair, the truth is, I love me some Southern summer. My Colorado in-laws may melt in this kind of weather, but I’m like my region’s native flowers: gardenias, magnolias, and jasmine. Sure, I may not smell as nice as they do when it’s sweltering out, but this is my kind of climate. If you want to see me wilt, send me where it’s cold. If you want to see me thrive, plant me in some Southern soil. Just look around– Southern ladies are blooming all over in brightly colored skirts and sundresses.
Side note: Yes, I know, I sort of dropped off in the middle of the Beatitudes series. It will be back this week, I promise.
New semi-regular feature, “that’s a framer!” This way I can share the occasional cool photo I somehow get lucky and manage to snap, despite my lack of skills. (Seriously, only part I struggled to pass in journalism classes was photography.)
These photos were taken Sunday evening at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Today campers are arriving at the summer camp where I was a camper and where I spent one very memorable summer as a camp counselor. It has me reminiscing.
6 summers ago, I had just graduated from high school, and I got a job I didn’t even apply for. On the day before I was supposed to leave with my family for a Disney World vacation, I got a phone call from the camp, asking me if I had plans for the summer and could I please consider working as a counselor? Yes, I was a year too young according to the rules, but they were short on staff, and I was an experienced camper. Not looking forward to spending the summer at home with my parents, I said, of course, but I can’t be there until I get back from Florida, which would cause me to miss the first week of staff training.
On the day I arrived, one other counselor was also arriving a week late, because his sister had just gotten married and he couldn’t make it to camp until after the wedding. We were introduced in the dining room and I immediately thought he was the cutest boy I’d ever seen. I schemed to sit next to him for CPR training, during which time we got into trouble with the instructor for talking too much. That evening the staff had a cook-out in the Outback Adventure Area, where we would be spending the night in cabins and learning how to do cook-outs as we would with our own campers each week of the summer. I remember that we tossed a frisbee. I remember that I loved his laugh. We started chatting around a campfire with several other counselors, but before too long, we were the only two still up. I saw three shooting stars, which he claimed were really just fireflies, but they couldn’t have been. Because I made three wishes. And they came true. (I KNOW! Totally cheesy and ridiculous but absolutely true!) Continue reading “summer lovin’”