May 29, 2012

smells like summer

We spent the past four days at the lake cottage.  The first weekend when the boat is back in the water, the air conditioning boxes running full blast and the beds piled with pillows and blankets is truly the beginning of summer for me.  It's the first lake trip, first June, first summer with The Four, and it's one big crazy adventure.  I saw our cottage in a new way these past few days.  I got to show them how to tube, how to buckle the life jacket.  We showed them clams and sand and lily-pads.  It was so much fun.

Ice cream trips were made and the kitchen grew hot from big dinner cooking.  Hundreds of kneeboarding attempts were made.  Arms and legs turned pink and dark brown.  Clothes smelled like lake water and campfire.  And you know photos were taken!  

Our lake cottage has this smell - it might be the old cabinets or it could be musty carpet - but it gets on everything, so that when you go home again and lay your head on the pillow, there are still hints of that lake smell.  And you're reminded of where you've just been, the fun you had, and the memories that were made.  I'm convinced it's one of the best smells ever.  It's my smell of summer.   

May 18, 2012

signs of summer

Everything is reminding me of summer, lately.  Blame it on my tired school brain or the fact that this is the busiest and most exciting summer of my life, but I've been ready for summer since the beginning of May.  Over here, we've been going barefoot for weeks, and the first campfire was enjoyed - complete with s'mores.  Plans have been made for the first trip to the lake cottage.  I'm flying by myself for the first time.  Friendships will be strengthened and more friends made.  The garden is planted.  Shorts and bathing suits have been purchased.     
After three finals and five classes on Monday, this summer will be mine.  A job, photography sessions, gardening, traveling, lake house weekends.  It's all on the very  v e r y  close horizon.  And every time I think about it, I am overwhelmed with excitement, happiness and thankfulness.   
Every thing has lined up perfectly so that these months are a perfect balance of fun, work, and fellowship.  It's going to be a good few months. 
This may be just another cliche blog post where I ramble about my summer plans, but what are you doing this summer?  Any big plans or things you are looking forward to?

May 15, 2012

the house at night

Our house at night has an air of silence that brings me comfort.  The light gives off an orange glow in the kitchen, making it a place of refuge, while the rest of the house is hidden in darkness.  This is my house - the way it usually is, with dishes left in the sink and numerous trinkets sitting on the windowsill.  A bottle of silver nail polish, a telephone, a letter to be mailed, a spray bottle for hair, scissors, tea bags, salt grinder, and home-grown peonies in a blue vase.  They are still at night, and that's what gives me comfort.  When the people are inside, they are the focus, but when everyone is asleep, I notice the little things that make this place my home.  I like my house at night.

May 09, 2012

The Garden

The screen slides open with a creak, its wheels protesting the awakening from winter hibernation.  It is the first sweet spring day, and they know what that means.  He stands from his worn leather chair, knees and seams both groaning with age.  She sits in the kitchen, sifting through handwritten recipes and magazine cutouts, looking for anything she could prepare for dinner that night...again.  He climbs the step into the kitchen where she was.  The place she always is, he thought.
They don't have to say anything - the scent of spring and the thought of what that meant was enough to stir the memory.  Standing slowly and walking even slower, she retrieves his coat.  Scratchy, worn wool tickling her delicate, but work-calloused hands, his still-strong arms find their holes as she helps him put the coat on.  She gets her scarf, still resting on the piano bench from the recent winter outings.  
The screen door takes some coaxing, but he manages to open it wide enough that both of them can go out together, supporting each other down the two concrete steps to the patio.  Though the walk to the garden is only a short way away, she tucks her arm in his, and his scratchy coat brushes her wrinkled cheek.  She smiles at that.  He had always told her they were the perfect height for each other - her head resting on his arm and his chin resting on her head.  
Their steps were slow...much slower than they used to be when they would chase each other around the house - just the two of them - until he would catch her and tickle her.  Then, when their babies were born, they would play tag in the backyard, while the dandelions and clover glowed with evening sunlight.  
They are headed for the bare patch in their yard.  In the black dirt, not a weed is to be seen, for the ground has been so well cared for that weeds are afraid to come back.  This is his and this is hers.  This patch that looks so neglected and exposed - they have seen it full of life and provision.  They have dug hands down into clumped ground, tossed seeds into hand-plowed rows, and pulled weeds for hours.  This is the place where they taught their children to reap what they sow, and that hard work is rewarding.   
The Garden.  It is their constant in this physical life.  It does not suffer from heart attacks or cancer; it does not lose its friends one by one; it does not forget its grandchildren's names and birthdays.  This haven is their place of simplicity.  Each day, the shoots become plants, and the buds become produce, while the planters grow weaker and their love grows stronger.  And in the summer, when the green beans plants are tall and tangled, the hot wind blows.  Those green bean plants whisper a song that he says to her everyday.  Stay with me.  One more day.  My beloved.  The garden sings it as well, for somehow, it knows that the planters are forgetting about their haven.  It has had a good life.
*Inspired, in part, by my grandparents and the spring gardening I've been doing.
*Photos of our early garden!  
*Look for more fiction from me soon.  I'm in a writing mood!