Saturday, July 4, 2009

Poe's Deadly Daughters Celebrate Summer

Happy Fourth of July to all our visitors! We're taking the opportunity to celebrate summer in words and pictures.

Elizabeth Zelvin:
I've already had the high point of my summer, a visit by my granddaughters, ages 2 and 5, to our summer home at the, er, modest end of East Hampton. I now understand why they say it takes a village to raise a child! I needed a three-and-a-half-hour nap when they left. But I wouldn't have missed a minute. I had a revelation about the nature of the shrill cries of children at the beach: my younger granddaughter stood at the edge of the ocean shrieking with sheer delight every time a breaker reached her feet. My other favorite summer thing is fireworks. I like to sit close, where the sound of each explosion thumps in my chest and the bursts of color appear to break right over my head. The spectacular fireworks on the beach at East Hampton no longer take place on the Fourth of July, because that's when the piping plovers are nesting on the sand. By Labor Day weekend, the fledglings have all flown away, so that's when we get the fireworks.

Sharon Wildwind
Knitted vests? This is a summer blog, right. What is that crazy Canadian woman thinking? She’s thinking that so far, in Calgary, it’s been a cold, wet summer. Last time I checked, my single brave cucumber plant was knitting herself a scarf and the tomato plants had installed a sauna. I have a passion for variegated yarn and unfortunately, the more enticing the variegation the more expensive the yarn, so I buy a skein or two instead of enough to make a whole vest. Those little two-ball stashes had grown to the point that I was having trouble closing the wool stash box lid. And I need some new clothes for fall. So, Before the hot weather sets in—if it’s coming at all—I am spending evenings doing two of my favorite things: designing and knitting vests and watching British cop dramas. John Thaw and yummy Mexican yarn. Or maybe that’s yummy John Thaw and Mexican yarn. Whatever. That’s my idea of summer. Have a good one, everyone.

Lonnie Cruse
Up until last week, the spring/summer was extremely enjoyable. Then it became extremely hot. A friend of ours owns a car wash on a major street in Paducah. We passed it on a recent Sunday night, and his huge digital thermomitor registered a whopping 100 degrees at six o'clock at night! PUUUlease. 100? When the sun was nearly down?

Folks here complained about the heat, then we exhanged guilty looks, realizing that while we were hot, we did have electricity again, and food, and we weren't wearing layers of clothing to keep warm, and we were able to travel about our area without fear of ice-leaden tree limbs falling without warning (several residents were injured or killed a few months back by them) and no fear of slippery roads. So right now, we're mostly thankful that winter is over and we can be out and about, enjoying life beyond our heating elements. And the heat wave passed, again, on a Sunday.

Summer, to me, is gathering with friends, good food, good chatter, lots of laughter, soft breezes, beautiful sunsets. Early mornings, watering the flowers and whatever vegetables or herbs I have. Sitting on my porch, watching the birds fight at the feeders, raising their babies, surviving. And the freedom to enjoy all this, hard won for us by our troups over the long decades of this country.

May your summer be full of warm days and cold ice cream!

Julia Buckley
For me, summer and my American Dream take the form of finding the time, at last, to enjoy what I have. It's nice to have those summer days when I can wake up to the joy of having no pressing obligations.

I can lie there and contemplate the graceful movements of a tree outside my window; I can plan family outings, like the one pictured, where we took the boys for a picnic at an old water mill (which used to be a stop in the Underground Railroad). I can clean my house and in the process I can declutter what is not needed or re-discover all of the possessions that I had forgotten in my work-absorbed existence.

Summer brings relaxation, and that brings a return to sanity. It also allows me the luxury of nostalgia for all summers past: little boys having lemonade sales on sweltering days; bunches of cousins sharing ice cream on a park bench; my husband and I taking a rare meandering walk together, talking about things that aren't chore lists. But for this summer, I look forward to summer days in which I can mow my lawn and inhale the fragrance of fresh-cut grass, then enjoy a cherry coke at my patio table. I look forward to summer nights in our cool front porch, festooned with party lights, where we can plot our futures while the day goes on forever.

Sandra Parshall
I hate winter with a passion that probably seems comical to some people. I view it as an aberration to be endured until the world returns to normal. From the moment leaves begin to color in autumn, my mantra is, “I want summer back, I want summer back.” Others may wax rhapsodic about fresh snow piled on the tree branches, but I’d rather look up into a tree and see something like this fledgling robin I snapped recently as he energetically plucked out what remained of his baby down. The world is reborn in every new life.

Others may welcome the crispness of winter air, but I want the heat. I want it to hit me in the face when I step out the door. I want to hear cicadas in the trees and watch fireflies winking across the lawn at night. I want to see my garden transformed from a barren stretch of winter mulch to a glorious jumble of color. We have to apply a noxious potion called “Not Tonite, Deer” to the daylilies if we want to see any blossoms, but they’re worth the trouble.

Warm weather was late in coming this year. Cold, wet days dragged on through spring, cheating us out of what is normally a gorgeous, although brief, season in the Washington, DC, area. But summer is here now, a real Washington summer that's hot and muggy and fragrant. Red fox kits and raccoon cubs chase each other around the back yard late at night, discovering the world in their first months of existence. The garden is abloom and the battle against browsing deer is in full swing. Life is good again. Get out there and enjoy it!


Marilynne said...

I really enjoyed your combined post. It gives a lot of viewpoints, but you can have the hot humid weather. Summer is here and I'm closed up in the house with the AC on.

Anonymous said...

Marilynne, I'm waiting out the 3rd or 4th thunderstorm of the afternoon. Will it come or won't it? Happy 4th

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

And we've had a weekend of perfect weather on Long Island, after a month of wretched weather. If only sand in my suit could always be my biggest problem....