it’s swirling, rising up in eddies that nearly catch me by the toes. it’s pulling me in, breezing past my bare shoulders, luring me outside. it’s a slipstream of sunshine. it’s dawn without the bite. it’s that que sera of summer that we’d bottle if we could.
except that if it was always, and not just here for one short sweet spell, we’d grow blasé, shrug our shoulders at its ever presence, not relish every drop for the invitation to indulge.
indulge in bare feet, lazy supper, long nights beneath the stars. indulge in ice cream cones, and lightning bugs, and berries bursting from their skins.
tis the season for dialing down the pace. for cranking up the relish. take the summer slow and steady as the drip, drip, drip from the garden’s leaky hose.
and i, for one, am deeply in need of double dose of summer. i find myself panting toward the finish line. just one more exam. one more command performance. one more, one more, and then we all collapse. into our wicker chairs, behind the walls of screen. we fill our pitchers tall with ice and lemon. dunk in a sprig of spearmint, the herb that knows no bounds, takes over every inch you give it. which, in my book, is not a bad thing. not at all. not the way i run through mint as if the signature of summer, poked into every watermelon basket, every mound of shortcake, just the way my grandma did — the one sure totem of her presence in my DNA, her culinary legacy come certainly to life.
we’re not quite there yet, which makes it all the more alluring. it’s just beyond my reach, taunting, teasing, whispering, stay steady and you’ll arrive. the old screen door of summer will open wide, will draw you in, plop a pillow ‘neath your old bare toes.
i am decidedly of seasonal persuasion. i live to catch the scent of change, as one stretch of time, of earth and heaven’s wonders, transform right before our eyes. one minute, we’re marveling at the certain unfolding of tender spring, and then, two blinks later, we’re bare-legged and shaking sand from our moppy heads. then it’s on to crisp of fall, and crunch of orchard’s apple. and then comes snow. and blankets piled on the couch. oh, my God, we’re quite indulged, the whole of us who live and breathe to witness all this blessedness.
and here’s the genius: just before we’ve had our fill, quite before we’re fully sated, the seasons change, move on. the lily-of-the-valley fades, the peony rises. a part of us sags, aches for what we’re losing, but then another beauty comes.
like all of life and all its finest gifts, we’re left wanting just a little more. one more sunset. one more snowflake. one more lazy afternoon. it keeps us ever on the verge. ever alive to what’s slipping away, what’s on the rise. we’re infused with pang of loss, and delight at the replenishment.
truth is, all of life’s ephemeral. nothing lasts. nor is forever. there is not a drop to be taken for granted. and therein lies its edge.
as all the mystics tell us, as all the holy know, the more deeply we relish every succulence, the more fervently we pay attention, rapt attention, the more fully — and blessedly — we live this one whirl we call our life.
as is my habit in the deep of every season, i keep watch. i inscribe my wonderlist.
here’s the one for summer on the rise…
it’s the season of . . .
firefly flicker: the original flash of wonder . . .
fledgling’s first flight, lesson in resilience . . .
cricket chorus, that chirpity blanket tucking in the nighttime, “audible stillness” in the poetry of nathaniel hawthorne . . .
butterfly couplet shimmering across the lazy afternoon . . .
sweet corn, buttered, dripping down your chin . . .
ditto: the peach . . .
putting thumb to the hose: water therapy at its most meditative…
Perseid’s meteoric chalk marks etched across the blackboard of midsummer’s predawn sky . . .
* from the pages of Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door
how do you define summer? what’s on your wonderlist?
part of what got me to thinking so blissfully about summer this week is that two “chairs” had birthdays just the other days, back to back, passing the baton at midnight between the 6th and 7th. happy birthday amy, and happy birthday nancy P. as a deep-of-winter girl, i relished everything about their summery birthdays, which in chicago this year were picture-postcard perfect. this stretch of perfect days has made me want to wrap myself in every blessed morsel of this easy season now upon us…..