A Long Ago Summer
Someone recently asked for my 3rd book of Berry Tales. I was honored and I motivated to put together my 4th little book of my Sunday columns from 2018 - 2021. Anyway, in all of this movement, I reread a Sunday column from June 2013 in one of the books...I am reposting just because it is June once more...
A Seascape of Summer
I begin this marvelous month of June with a shortness of breath, a rapidity, because it is nearly impossible for me to understand where the preceding months of this year have gone. Within this bewilderment, I gladly gather a medley of metaphors in my head that describe the delightfulness of summer for me. They are a collection of images from all of the summers of my life that have formed a collage of what summer “is” – images of hand cranked banana ice cream, my dad’s water glass that sat near the sink all day in summer, a star that falls from the night sky, the tiny lights from the fireflies in the woods, screened porches and my grandmother’s oscillating fans, refreshing drinks from the water hose, my mom’s blackberry cobbler, mosquito hawks on clotheslines and loud locusts hovering near street lights signaling yet another sultry summer evening. It is a slide show of sorts that I have, inadvertently accumulated through the years and conjure up in June to remind me of the beauty ahead while I feel snug in the splendor of yesterday.
In my adult life, much of that list still exist, I have hung on to some of those carefree moments and of course with each summer, I add more images. Some things have changed, however; I have replaced Pollyanna books about optimism and gladness that I checked out of the old library on Weeks Street with a more reflective books like Gifts from the Sea, a book about life and its inevitable changes, a book that defines some of those intangible places of summer for me. It seems, Anne Morrow Lindbergh knew about the soulful essence of summer and found it at the seashore.
“How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange.”
Although I am not presently seaside, I connect to this. There is a desire to be alone occasionally especially in the early summer mornings before the long day begins, before the busyness, alone with coffee and the sound of the morning birds and the wind chimes moved by the summer breeze. Sounds I hastily left during the last days of school. Those moments of solitude are defining when I think of summer. They were there in childhood also. Perhaps I did not realize it then but they were those quiet moments spent in my room sometimes late on a summer night with my transistor radio sitting on the sill of my open window trying to catch a faraway Little Rock radio station that would play popular music well into the night as it concealed some of the sounds coming from the woods or times when I was a child sitting in my favorite backyard treetop watching the world down below and hearing the familiar sounds of my mother’s voice and the neighborhood kids slamming screen doors and the occasional jingle from the ice cream truck coming down Live Oak Lane – those were times I felt the need to be alone without even recognizing it. I suppose those are the places where our imaginations develop and we learn to see within and beyond. Perhaps we discover deeper things, as Anne Lindberg did by the seashore, and come to know that there should be no difficulty excusing ourselves from some things, from the busyness of life, in exchange for those brief but essential moments to be alone.
Thank you Carol Gros for making me "revisit" xo