Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer

What is it about summer that fills and yet drains us?

You say it’s the heat and certainly that defines it. It’s the close intensity of the sun through a hazy sky. Sharp shadows. Fuzzy memories.

Summer was our youthful promise of immortality. It began at the exact moment of the final school bell in early June. It proceeded through endless days of hitting baseballs and jarring polliwogs from the slippery, slimy-green drainage ditch that ran through our neighborhood like our own private subway.

Summer involved rolling down grassy hillsides, giggling, wearing only shorts and then being itchy all day.

Summer made necessary running through lawn sprinklers, wherever we found them inviting us in.

The entire neighborhood played hide-and-seek. No place was out of bounds. It might take half an hour to find kids scattered behind parked cars, perched in trees and jumping fences to race through neighboring backyards.

“OLLY-OLLY AUCTION FREE!”

Summer evenings frequently found us in front yards on blankets. The entire family was there and neighbor kids and sometimes their parents, as well.

We’d look through the grass for four-leaf clovers and watch Venus follow the sun into a darkening horizon. We looked for shooting stars and UFOs. We drank Kool-Aid and talked about what we wanted to do tomorrow.

The cricket chorus began at full darkness as the Delta breeze arrived from the Golden Gate. Shortly after that Mom said it was time to come in and take a bath. The truth is, I didn’t really mind. I was tired.

And I wanted tomorrow to get here fast.

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