Last night was one to bottle and save for a cold winter night.
The weather has been humid in my corner of the world. If you’re a regular visitor of the Middle-Aged Head, you know I don’t enjoy humidity and hot weather. That trend had been hanging around a little too long for my taste, but the last couple of days have been wonderful. Lots of sunshine, not too hot, and a bit of a breeze made for picture-perfect summer days. The beaches were crowded and the tourists were everywhere.
The perfect summer days turned into perfect summer nights – warm enough for shirt sleeves, clear skies filled with stars, and a whisper of a breeze. I’ve been longing for nights like this most of the summer. Last night, I was rewarded. I celebrated this gift by sitting outside, not on the front lawn where I usually sit. I spent last night sitting on my “back porch” – actually it’s the sidewalk that leads to my apartment. The “porch” faces the street behind the building, where there was plenty of activity. Because the street is a dead-end, there is very little traffic and it gives the neighborhood kids a place to play touch football. Kids are moving about on bicycles, zipping around parked cars and between the buildings. A little toddler in diapers chases his mother and wants to be picked up, then wants to be let loose when he sees what the older children are doing. I see some of the young mothers dressed in summer dresses and sandals. Usually I see them chatting on the sidewalk while they watch the kids play. I’m glad to see they’ll get the release they need – going out, having a drink or something to eat – a chance for them to be something other than a mother.
Leaning back in my chair, I look up at the canopy of maple trees overhead. They sway in the breeze, sounding like an orchestra of maracas playing pianisimo. The leaves are huge, almost as big as my hand. When autumn arrives, they will turn brilliant golds and reds, pushed around by the wind, eventually piling up next to the trash bins. But it isn’t the time to think about autumn. I want to enjoy this summer night. There’s not much you can do to improve a night like this – maybe enjoying a crackling campfire with toasted marshmallows and chocolate bars for smores. But that’s a post for another day.
When it was time for bed, I kept one window open slightly for the cool to invade my apartment. AsI lay in bed, I was reminded of a book I read as a child. It’s title is “Frederick” – the story of a field mouse, who sits around while the other mice gather grain for the winter. Frederick is gathering the warmth of the sun. When winter does arrive and their grain supply is used up, the mice huddle together for warmth, and they listen to Frederick tell his tales of the warm summer sun. That’s the condensed version. My point is that those summer nights, with cool breezes and the sounds of rustling leaves, will help sustain me in the depths of winter. I can close my eyes to the bleakness and recall the warmth of summer. I cherish these days and nights because they are gifts to feed the soul.