Rediscovering an endless summer

When I was a kid, I took summertime for granted. Sprung from school at the end of June, I felt set loose onto what seemed like a vast, timeless stretch of sunshine and relaxation. I slept when I chose, woke when I felt like it, and swam and read at will. I ate fresh peas and corn and tomatoes as the season progressed. I dug earthworms and caught perch and sunnies off the dock, which my father skinned and my mother cooked. I generally lounged around with a freedom I didn't even know I had.

This summer, for the first time in more than thirty years, I feel like I am having that same sort of old-fashioned, child-like summer. On sabbatical in Santa Fe at a writing residency for the entire month of June, my schedule was my own. My basic needs were met with a blissful ignorance. Returning home to a full work schedule, I figured my carefree days of 2015 were behind me. But New England had other ideas.

It rained in New Hampshire for much of the month I was gone, and I was met by a lush, flowering landscape on the cusp of the July 4th holiday. American flags were flying everywhere. Orange daylilies lined stone fences. The pink and white astilbe in my front yard reached straight up with a feathery exuberance.

Now, entering mid-July, the summer is ripe and will be for at least a few more weeks. The cicadas and their sizzling end-of-summer serenade have yet to gain full strength. Nothing is waning; there are no school busses on test drives, high-school football players at practice, or bittersweet Labor Day plans. The dog days are stubbornly, deliciously here. It makes me think of earlier summers: of my first dive off the deep end, of learning to dance to Motown, of men walking on the moon. Of what miraculously still feels like effortless, endless possibility.