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My Smallest (Biggest) Summer Pleasure

June 13, 2012

Liz gave me this writing assignment:  “What is the smallest thing about summer that makes you happy?”

When I first read it, I thought well that is easy!  There is the sun, the blue sky, the books, the time…and I kept going.  However that word “smallest” kept getting in the way.  I kept coming back to time, but that is HUGE.  I had to think smaller for sure.  (I will tell you a secret:  I am still kind of stuck.)

I am ensconced in time right now.

I wake up and stay in bed.  I watch the leaves ripple through the maple tree outside my window.  The blue sky peaks through the leaves and makes me feel like I could lie in bed forever.  Franklin (when he chooses my bed for the night) lies next to me nudging my hand to pet him, and it is nice to be able to linger.

I have time to walk everyday.  I started out and did great for one week.  Then, shockingly, I stopped altogether.  I haven’t been out since.  Most mornings I have a conversation with myself trying to talk myself into going.  But the angel on my right shoulder keeps losing to the devil on the wrong shoulder.  With the time comes the laziness.  I REALLY SHOULD be walking right now.

The summer brings the bountiful harvest of fruit.  I love loading up at the grocery store with berries and cherries and grapes.  We have sampled some melons already, and my kids are so. happy.  I love that they love fruit so much.  It is something that they look forward to, all that goodness.  I have been having strawberries and vanilla yogurt for breakfast.  YUM.  Pretty soon we will be able to go to the farm and pick our own strawberries.  Those are the best.

Summer also births the garden.  I am not the resident gardener in this family, that would be my husband.  He has the flowers planted and they are so beautiful.  I get to go out and cut flowers for my kitchen table, and I get to sit outside and enjoy all the colors.  I love how flowers just show off for a living.  What a great thing, touting your beauty all the live long day.  And the harvesting of the good vegetables that Jeff grows…it is such a miracle.  From those little packets of seeds that I juggle around my kitchen…trying not to spill the ones that have been opened…come parts of our meals!  Amazing.  So far the only harvest has been the radishes.  Nobody in our house eats radishes.  But!  They are an early harvest so it is great to see them bobbing in a container in the fridge.  I will shred some and mix it with our salad.  But my mom eats them whole.  EW.

Frogs and toads and turtles are around in the summer.  I love them.  I always have.  When I was a kid, we had a pool in our backyard.  I would go around the neighborhood with a net and a bucket.  A deep bucket.  I would use the handle of the net to stir around the leaves and stuff in our neighbor’s window wells.  This is how I collected my toads.  I brought them home and put them in our window well.  Voila!  Toad pets.  I would collect them back in my deep bucket and bring them to swim with me in the pool.  Once some boys brought over a frog…a real live frog!… to join in the swimming.  We had no idea that the frog would dive down and stay at the bottom of the 8 foot deep end.  And, I also learned that frogs can jump higher than toads.  He was not a captive in the window well habitat.  I was sad the next day.

The other day I went out to start the grill for dinner and there was a tree frog in the grill!  It was such a great surprise.  I got to pick it up and put it on one of the begonia leaves.  It had little sticky suction cups for feet and clung right on to my hand.  I had a bit of trouble getting it to go onto the begonia leaf, truth be told.  If I didn’t need to cook dinner right then, I totally would have held it for hours.  I also stopped to let a turtle cross the street in front of me recently.  I would have gotten out of my car to help it across, but it was a snapping turtle.  It was BIG.  I worried all the way to the grocery store that someone else (in the other lane) would hit it.  But, when I was going home it was gone and there was no turtle shell lying in the road.  (Thank goodness.)  Painted turtles are my favorite, of course.

I think the best thing about summer is that it is a clean slate.  There is so much opportunity to do the things that are let go of when I am working.  It is an opportunity.  I tend to waste those opportunities, but this summer I am determined not to.  I am determined to get as much accomplished as I can.

And all of these things feel BIG.  What is the smallest?

I think it is the lack of the word “hurry.”

All year long we rush around trying to keep everything in control.  And, it isn’t like we don’t have places to be or things that have to be done in the summer, we just have more space to get everything done.  It is such a gift.  The gift of lingering.  Without missing something.  It makes me tremendously happy.  Well, that and having my toes dressed up for the summer in their pink glory.  And, that my cheeks are rosy again.  And, that I can sleep with my window open.  And…

Man, Liz.  This was a hard assignment.  So, it is your turn.  What is the smallest thing about summer that makes you happy?

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