Summer came, but somebody watered down a bit. I hope no one believes that I am complaining about the endless rain. The older you get, the more you appreciate it.
When the sun broke through for a few minutes on the Fourth, and I felt the humidity rise, I concluded that all that rain hadn’t been so bad. Within hours it returned— last night, with a vengeance.
It was a thunderstorm that made you forget the previous worst thunderstorm. We sat in the cedar chairs on the lawn for a long time, watching it strategically making its way down the lake like an electric monster, stalking us. Of course, we all counted the seconds between the lightning and the thunder, most still believing each second equaled a mile of distance between the monster and us.
When the waves started overtaking the top of the dock, we moved inside, each of us—except the youngest— fighting for a window seat. My grandfather would have called the storm a “doozie.”
I care much less about perfect summer weather than I did when I was young. What I care about now is that I get that feeling—the feeling of summer.
I want to revel in the joy of my granddaughter’s squeals when she makes first contact with the always-cold lake water. Watch the dogs swim, holding their heads up just high enough above the water for their muzzles to snort in and out the oxygen they need to keep on paddling.
I enjoy hearing the musical sound of a distant two-stroke outboard motor when life quiets around me in the late afternoon. Unseen and unseeable because of distance or island obstructions, I picture the boat’s occupants, wonder about the conversations, and sometimes consider whether they have enough gas to complete the journey without concerns.
And yes, I howl and scold when I sit on a wet couch cushion, knowing that one of the dogs has used the aged furniture as a sponge to dry off their coat. I don’t want perfection; I’ll take my life with a side of frustration, maybe some homemade cole slaw and an A&W Root Beer, too.
We all appreciate the sound of a slamming wooden screen door. It’s iconic and probably one of the most recognized sounds of the people from my generation.
I feel sad for the kids subjected to only hydraulically-softened closures of color-matched aluminum doors. Even after years of stretching and stress, rusty springs close the door more boldly, telling the world that there has been an exit or entry, fending off all but the most blood-thirsty mosquitoes.
Duct tape patches over dog-torn screens do an excellent job of keeping the bugs at bay, at least for a few days. New holes appear overnight, and tomorrow we fight the battle again.
Being a lifelong Maine boy, I also know that Independence Day marks the beginning of a countdown to autumn and winter. I know I am not alone in this glass-half-empty mentality. I’ve talked about it to others who are like me. I think it’s a New England thing; enjoying but planning for what will inevitably—and too soon—come next.
For today, I am found alone at the camp. Family had appointments in town one hundred miles away. I was selected to stay behind and care for the three four-legged beasts, all sleeping comfortably around the tiny camp.
My digressions bottled up from a week of not writing a thing leak onto the keyboard like happy tears at a joyful reunion.
Summer came. Soak it up. Wring it out. Enjoy it while it hangs out on the porch. You’ll know when it’s gone by the resonance of the slamming screen door.
From the Jagged Edge of America, I remain,
*To all my subscribers and supporters on the BuyMeACoffee app. I want to thank you all. For it is your support that enables me to write rather than toil away, frustrating another boss and ruining another successful business while at the same time daydreaming about writing for a living. It is not a proper way to sturdy one’s reputation. Thank you, all.