Summer – the word evokes a flurry of responses in me. I live near an elementary school, and notice that for the children making their way back and forth, they seem to have picked up a new spring in their steps. Summer is freedom; freedom from school and homework, to have time to sleep in or get up way to early and play outside until way too late. Summer time and the living is easy.... the words from George Gershwin float on the too still warm air as I seek out the comfort of shade. Lightning bugs and the sounds of night cricket sonnets fill the air as much as the light from the stars and moon. The sounds of leaves in the wind, they strike me as if they actually are laughing with the pure delight of receiving a cooler breeze than those of us with two feet stuck firmly on the earth. Summer is sun dresses and sandals, sheer silky scarves wrapped around your neck and lawn chairs. Summer is the splash of the garden hose and the smell of fresh sun warmed strawberries. Summer is the bliss of walking into the air conditioning and being able to snuggle under a quilt rather than sweating buckets on top of all sheets while fans are running. Summer is baby birds that don’t fly very well yet, are slightly mottled and now stand next to their momma’s while waiting to be fed rather than waiting in the nest. Summer is the sound of the riverboat horns as they approach each other.
I have a lot of really wonderful summer memories. I have played in sprinklers, mud, and trees. I remember making up plays with neighborhood compatriots who apparently either was willing to share the flare for the story telling or just did what the bossy neighbor girl told them. A white long haired dog named Bo Bo used to stand on our picnic table, and wait for us to come and pet him. He appreciated the attention as one of those good neighborhood dogs. He did not appreciate it when my mother tried to use some flea killer on him. With hurt feelings, he did not come back for a week. I remember summer vacations, especially ones in the back of a big green van. It had a bed in the back and I loved lying on that bed, and having it completely covered with whatever project I was working on at the time. I would let myself roll from side to side as we went around corners and watch other drivers out of the back windows. I remember many summers of band and sweating on the side of a football field. It seemed a great accomplishment to learn a few new steps, a few new notes, which we knew would be needed come fall and competitions. The accomplishment seemed worth the sacrifice of our summer hours, our sweat, blood, and yes – tears. I remember trips to stay with my grandparents. Swimming at the campground with one and all sorts of messy projects with another.
I look at this summer and as it is my first one without either being in school, preparing for school, or completely burned out from school, and I wonder what I should do with myself this summer. There is work of course. But, that is to support life, not life itself. What should I do? Read a few new books? Of course! Three are on order, two Geoffrey of Monmouth books and one biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have considered lying down on the driveway at night while the pavement is still warm, but figure the neighbors would all think I had gone completely buggy. Oh well, I may do that anyway. There are flowers to picked, pictures to be taken, birds to listen to. Trips to plan, friends to visit, and time to enjoy the antics of the dogs. There is my Bible to read, my time in prayer, and Character Camp at church (like a VBS). This summer is unique. It will never come again. I feel that I need to dig down deep and plant something here that is memorable, that will be recalled someday like my grandmother’s snowball bushes. A lasting memory that comes back to life with a fragrance or sight.