There is something magical about summer. It seems that there is a mystical rhythm to it that presents itself in the slight breeze, reminding me of those carefree days of childhood. I never desire to go back in time until these moments. But the gentle wind makes me miss the innocence of looking into the garden without knowing how much work they actually are.
Oh sure, I can recall the countless hours that Grandpa Teal would be out there with his hoe and spade, but it was such a romantic notion back then. Grandpa and the garden—they just went together. I had no idea of the actual work involved. I can still visualize him with his hoe in hand, sun hat on, hacking at the weeds. After a hard day’s work, beaming with pride he would lay his bounty on the kitchen counter (dirt and all) for Grandma Doris to work her magic. And she did work her magic. She could seemingly take any thing and within minutes lay a veritable feast in front of us.
As a child, I had the best view of Grandpa and his garden from an old tire swing he made out of re-purposed tires off some old rig. The tire is still there, shaded by the huge tree in which it has hung for years and years. I love that swing. I spent much of my childhood twisting in the shadows of that tree, daydreaming, processing, while allowing my thoughts go wild.
There was a song that came out a few years ago called “Billy the Kid,” brilliantly sung by Billy Dean. The lyrics remind me of my boys as they belt out the innocence of childhood.
Strapped on my holster low across my hips,
Two Colt .45’s with black plastic grips;
And I’d head west through our neighborhood,
And they’d say,
“Here comes young Billy and he’s up to no good.”
I rode a trail through the neighbor’s backyard,
Shootin’ the Bad Guys through my handlebars.
Known for my bravery both far and near,
Bein’ late for supper was my only fear.
My 12-year-old, who is the youngest of four boys in our family, is the quintessential “Billy the Kid.” He loves the freedom that comes with riding his bike to “worlds unknown” and finding new routes to old, familiar places. I love the sound of him yelling across the house, “Hey, Ma! I am going to ride my bike,” without a care in the world.
Yesterday I found myself in the back yard with laptop in hand and a cell phone attached to my ear. Then, for the briefest of moments, I closed my eyes and heard the rhythm. As I breathed it all in, I couldn’t help but be grateful for these little snapshots of summer.