Twenty Seven Summers

The moment summer begins the days shorten with every full rotation of the earth, first by seconds then by minutes. I enjoy all seasons yet summer is the one I look forward to the most. Summer is the season I miss the most. Summer is color, warmth, smells and sounds, it is life at its fullest with the sun on my face. Even summer rain has a rich texture. And if my life is to be as long as my Father’s then I have twenty seven summers left to embrace.

Now it is July 21, 2014. Another summer is a third gone. I’d meant to write this before spring’s end but life’s been busy, it always is. I need to slow down, soak in each day and remember summers gone by. I need to make the effort to make the most of each day before the air chills and the thin autumn clouds stretch across the sky.

One winter not long ago I was outside in New England a couple hours past midnight. The sky was dark, the air clear and cold. The stars were bright and it was totally silent. It was the dead of winter. Now the nights are full of sounds, tree frogs and insects, all very busy and the slightest breeze shakes the leaves out of their sleep. The summer nights are alive when most humans sleep and I enjoy that time the most when people noise does not keep me from hearing the sounds of the deep night changing as morning approaches. About an hour before sunrise the birds begin to stir signaling the change from dark to light. When the sun is up my awareness of sound becomes less as the visual takes over.

During my high school years I had a morning paper route for the Seattle Post Intelligencer that I worked before going to my daytime summer job. Had I not been up so early to deliver the news to my neighbors I might never have discovered how excellent this time of the summer day is. Nowadays I might linger in bed but often I’m up with the sun. In Seattle I can easily be playing golf by six.

Before my family moved to Seattle I spent my summers in New England, sometimes at camp in New Hampshire and always on Cape Cod for several weeks with my Grandmother. When Nanny moved to South Yarmouth I slept on a couch in the screened in porch. That was perfection, protected from the mosquitoes and skunks. In the Harwich house I retreated to the basement to escape the summer heat but the porch was much better.

So perhaps I have twenty seven summers left including this one. Nothing is certain this is true. I’ve been fortunate to live in perfect summer places, the Northeast, the Northwest and for a short time the Midwest. I’ve already had fifty six to enjoy with great memories.

Blueberries and strawberries
Ice Cream
Cross country drives
Cookouts
Summer camp
Jones Beach on Long Island
Nauset Beach on Cape Cod
Bike rides
Redwing Blackbirds
Mourning Doves
The Milky Way
Lemonade
Cold Beer
Campfires
Marshmallows
Baseball
Cape Cod
Staying up all night
Reading all day
Drive In Theaters
Wednesday the same as Saturday
Fireflies
Stickball in NYC
Fresh cut grass
The ice cream truck
Fifty four holes of golf
Jumping off bridges into cold water
Fireworks
Hotdogs and cookouts
Football workouts
Crickets
Fishing and catching nothing
Fishing and catching Northern Pike
Canoes and rowboats
Learning to ride a bike
Moonrise over the Atlantic on Cape Cod
Sunsets over the Olympic Mountains
Collecting bottles for the deposit money
Fetching balls out of the sewer
The smell of a charcoal grill and burgers cooking
Hikes up Mt. Washington
The sound of distant thunder
The lighting in a dark sky

Twenty seven summers….. What will my list be when those are done?

Thank you for reading!

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