Gearing up for Summer is occurring. #2 is out of school for the semester (straight B’s across the board, y’all! SO proud!) and will soon be put to work de-landscaping the yard. The current tree-and-shrub situation is a solid 45 years old and just needs to be gone. As soon as the 54 pine trees (on 1/3 acre…no idea how that was managed) are gone, he’ll get cracking on the overgrown holly and yaupon, the ugly and weedy looking azaleas, and all those redtips along the back. When everything is gone, new shrubs, blooming things like camellias and sasanquas and hydrangeas and little blooming trees like dogwoods, redbuds, and Japanese magnolias will go in. And maybe fruit trees in the back. And the vegetable garden will be expanded and maybe even the back yard landscaped as well! That will happen in the Fall.
I am ready for Summer. I am ready for the relaxed pace and the not having to get dressed by 7am and hot days with iced tea and ceiling fans on high, the evenings of peepers and frogs on the window screens and salads for supper. Come August, I’ll be ready for cooler temperatures and chili and blankets, but those will still be 2-3 months away. Come August, I’ll be complaining but for now, I am ready for the heat.
Things don’t hurt when it’s hot. Arthritis takes a vacation. I can sit in the hot sun and soak it up and aching hands and feet…just don’t ache. Headaches don’t happen as much, and sleep is easier.
I remember as a kid, sleeping with the windows open and the attic fan thrumming, sucking air through the house and making it positively windy. I remember a box fan in the window, blowing directly across the bed, and needing a light blanket. My favorite one was a flannel sheet Mom had bound in satin blanket binding. It was white with purple pansies on it, and exactly the right weight for the almost-but-not-quite cool North Georgia Summer nights.
We don’t have lightning bugs here. It’s too warm or the soil is too salty or something. I remember millions of them when I was little and lived in Illinois. There were some in North Georgia later on, but here in Deepest South Georgia, you only see one rarely. Green frogs on the window screen are more common. And blue tailed skinks. Anywhere that’s close to fresh water (which is basically everywhere, due to the abundance of creeks, ponds, and swamps here) loud peepers start screaming as soon as the sun starts to go down and the air cools (a little). Whippoorwills and Chuck-Will’s-Widows are soothing night noises, or maybe the hooHOO of a barn owl.
#4 goes off to grandparents’ for the Summer. He’ll stay with one set much of June, then go to Boy Scout Camp the last week of June, then to the other set much of July, and be back home around the first of August, then the whole school year thing starts all over. I intend to spend as much time as I can doing as little as possible. Maybe pick a tomato, or pull a weed.
I remember the first Summer after graduating high school and I was working. The sudden and appalling realization that Summer Vacation no longer existed was…appalling. Horrifying, even. No more late night kickball or spotlight tag. No more long days spent poolside or mornings that started at the crack of 10 (or even noon). Oh sure, work meant things like having a car and being able to buy clothes or even a quarter or two of college, but the Summers, those long, lazy, bone-idle Summers just weren’t happening anymore. Now that they kind of are, I want to be in bed as early as possible so I can get up as early as possible and take advantage of the cool of the morning for the outside stuff and somehow, even at 48, that seems wrong. Maybe I’ll try to recapture a bit of that this Summer, but probably not. It always seems to work better if someone else is doing the laundry and cooking, and there really isn’t anyone else to do that around here. I guess I’ve turned into my mother.