I showed a string of houses to a fun young couple today, starting at 9:00 AM. The majority of the houses were vacant and very warm, due to the air conditioning either being turned off or set at a high temp. With high humidity and a heat index of 98 degrees, we quickly became hot and sweaty. They were troopers though and gratefully, the last house we looked at had the air blasting away. What a relief to linger in that one for a few minutes.
Back in my cool home, later in the afternoon, I was working on a word swag meme, using a picture from my backyard paradise. As I looked for an appropriate summer time quote to accompany the pic, I wondered when the hot, lazy days of summer lost their appeal for me.
I didn’t grow up with central air conditioning. We had a window water cooler when I was a kid, living in Tulsa, OK. But that was it, other than box fans scattered throughout the house. No central air. Not even a window unit. Just that huge, boxy cooler that chilled the air with cold water before blowing it into the room.
I wasn’t inside anyway, on those long summer days. I grew up in a neighborhood full of kids. We played, climbed trees, rode bikes, sprayed each other with garden hoses. Summer meant freedom…from school, homework, extracurricular activities and early bedtimes. I loved summer days and warm, muggy summer evenings, alive with fire flies, crickets and tree frogs.
At night our parents would call us in, and after baths or showers to rinse away the evidence of the day’s fun, my sisters and I would comb out our long wet hair and then grab our pillows and lie on the floor, in front of a humming box fan. When did all that change? When did summer become something to endure as I look forward to cooler fall days?
Musing on these questions, I grabbed a cold bottle of water and headed back out into the brilliant sunshine. Seated in a canvas chair, on the brickio, I grew still and just allowed the day to be what it was…hot, humid, bright. Sitting there quietly, without judgment or complaint, I took in the garden.
Bees and butterflies darted among colorful blossoms. Birds twittered. The ornamental grasses behind me rustled as they swayed. There was a breeze, after all. It carried to me the delicate scents of basil and mint and lemon balm. I settled deeper into my chair and sighed with contentment.
Beauty surrounded me, in the the form of flowers, grasses, and plants. This garden soothes me and brings me deep pleasure and joy. I love it out there. And the heat? I baked. I inhaled heated air. I sweated and then the breeze cooled my skin as it evaporated the moisture. As I did with the rain, last year, I made friends this afternoon with the summer heat.
And actually, that’s not quite right. We were once friends, long ago. I invited the heat, and with it, summer, back as an old friend. I welcomed summer again, and reveled in the sweet freedom and the caressing warmth and the invitation to bask and do nothing more.
As often as I can this summer, I will steal away to the backyard to sit with my old friend and simply enjoy our time of getting reacquainted. I think it’s time to acquire something new for the backyard, something I’ve always wanted but have never owned…a hammock! What a perfect way to enjoy summer.
My inspiration for the perfect hammock