Summer Time

Things I love, cont’d…

I love the lines from the old song, “Summer time, and the living is easy….” Days drift by in the scents of sweet sweat, sweet drinks, and sweet-smelling flowers. School bells cease to chime across the neighborhoods. “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks!”

Sun sparkles on skin and eyelashes as we surge through the water of the community swimming pool. Chlorine and hot grease from a paper cone of French fries fill our noses. Burnt fingers and laughter. The air echoes with shouts, magnified by the vast rippling sheen of water.

Later the dull thwack of a bat hitting a baseball out on the side street. Watch out that the ball doesn’t sail through Mrs. Wilson’s basement window. Last year she called the cops. The officer rolled his eyes and asked us to go to the park or move farther down the street.

Fingers scrape as the last bit of chalk is dragged over the sidewalk in a complicated hopscotch pattern. It will take all summer to master the hop, one foot up to move forward, two feet down to rest, then a jump twist in the air to land inside the lines. Our favorite game has a hundred squares and fluid rules. It takes half an afternoon to draw.

Too hot to play, we lie in the shade and suck on frozen treats. Koolaid is the beverage of choice. Grape is best but sometimes we mix it up with cherry. We slosh it into plastic cups and giggle, pretending to be drunk until the wasps buzz us back into the house.

Trips to the cool sanctuary of the library, where the sounds are hushed, the rooms smell of books, and the feeling is of magic and mystery to be discovered. The stack of chosen books makes a line of sweat along my arms when I trudge home, sun’s glare glinting from hot sidewalks and gleaming store windows.

Climb a tree to feel the breezes from across the world fan my hot face. Escape with my friends to wade in the creek and look for tadpoles. Hunt for caterpillars in the weed-lined ditches. Try to catch a butterfly. Wonder if a bumble bee really can be made into a pet. Drop a handful of sugar by an ant hill to watch each tiny worker lift cube after cube and carry it down into their earthy home.

A collage of smell, feel, sound, heat and dreams. Summer.