The kitchen floor was cold under my bare feet this morning. I’m shivering in my PJ’s – a white tank top and thin, flowery pants. I had to close a window to minimize the chill while I write, and I considered going back upstairs for my slippers. Today is July 29.
The kids and I are on each other’s last nerves. All day, every day, is an awful lot of together time. We do well when we are outside where there are no walls to bounce our energy and irritation back at us, so we went for a family bike ride on Sunday. On our ride, I could not get over the profusion of green in Appalachia in summer. Along the bike path, where in winter the shoulders lay brown and barren, broad leaves and thick stalks now formed a dense thicket that would require a machete to pass. Waist high grasses, purple thistle, and white Queen Anne’s lace blanketed horse pastures, and wooden fences were buried beneath thick blackberry brambles, honeysuckle vines, and the candy red berries of deadly nightshade. Cattails and prickly heads of teasel swayed on stems taller than my shoulders as I pedaled by, and morning glory vines clambered over shrubs, reaching even higher.
It occurred to me yesterday, amidst this abundance of life, and again this morning with the chill creeping in through open windows and up through the floors, that summer will not last forever. This lushness, these flowers, the fireflies with their twinkling lights; the pasta making, the berry picking, the drifting, unplanned days; the play dates, the camping trips, the liberty to travel – all of these will soon fade.
On our ride, my heart swelled with pride as our daughter attacked a long, steep hill. She refused to dismount and walk her bike up it, and she pedaled all the way to the top without stopping. Meanwhile, our son had gotten off near the bottom, and I hopped off too to keep him company. I walked my bike behind him and couldn’t help but smile as he pushed his knobby-tired Trek up the hill, bopping his helmeted head in his happy-go-lucky way. I soaked them up, our determined daughter and our stop-and-smell-the-flowers son, just as I soaked up the emerald leaves and the profusion of blooms on our ride back home. Summer will not last forever. I’d better enjoy it while I can.