The summer of our lives

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Aug 16, 2001 12:00 AM
For everything there is a season. Around our shop, it is the season for repairing all the stuff that seems to bust all at once. But summer also is the season we notice the world around us, the season of slowing down and taking stock. In thinking about it - in recalling memories of the summer of our lives - images flood the mind. Summer is... Creeping mists. Thunderheads, and the southwest wind making rain. Shimmery mirages of incandescent heat. Just-cut grass. Exploring the starry immensity on a night-blanketed field. The primeval smell of fecund earth. Lobster and crabs. Lush tomatoes and BLTs. Ice cream. Watermelon and corn on the cob. Burgers on the grill. Sno-cones and popsicles in sticky fingers. Limes and lemonade; iced tea with a sprig of mint. Frosted brew. Spritzers, tonics and fizzes. Grease-soaked pronto pups. Gooey marshmallows. Fish in the shallows. Insect hordes. The drone of cicadas, the buzzing of bees. A rush of wings. The screech of a gull; the cackle of a loon on a northern lake. Arachnid artisans spinning webs. Butterflies. Fireflies in jars. Giant frogs croaking, "Knee deep" in the mud. A startled deer bounding, tail up, into the camouflage safety of the woods. A dog dead-asleep in the shade. Spinnakers billowing before the wind. Splices and slices. The swish of a fairway wood. Backstroke. Backhand. The crack of the bat at the ballpark. Daisy fields. Filigreed globes of Queen Anne's lace. Asters. Black-eye susans. Honeysuckle and morning glories. Vast fields of wheat, and green oats growing. Trees chatting via the flinty clatter of their leaves. Waves rushing toward the shore. Beach bonfires. Elaborate castles. Salt sprays and languid days. Sunburn and sun-blisters. Freckles and tans. Sand in your toes. No clothes. A setting sun dripping red-gold into the sea. The pool, keeping cool, no school. Kids at camp. Tents. Canoeing and tubing. Sandals. The mountains and the river. Creaking wicker. Picnics. Ferris wheel lights. Going barefoot. Muggy air and clammy sheets. Being rescued by a breeze from sweltering heat so hot not even the birds have energy to sing. Brassy bands. The snap of The Flag on The Fourth. Goofy hats and tenement Ts. Syrupy weekday traffic and deserted weekend streets. Good books and come-hither looks. Skinny-dipping and daiquiri-nipping. A hammock for two. Moons - and swoons. Girls after males - and sales! Brides. Friends, and making amends. Vacations, of course. Roaming the forest solitudes like Crusoe before he saw the footprint. Doing what you want to when you want to, or doing nothing at all. Caring about the little things. Feeling blissfully irresponsible accomplishing precisely zero. Snoring - feet up - before the TV. The mind decelerated from overdrive to idle. Summer is the season that makes the rest of the year worthwhile. It is peace. Freedom. Joy. An optimism retained in spite of life.