Tuesday, November 6, 2018


When I was a kid my favorite time of year was summer.  It stayed light until ten.  I loved the smell of newly mown grass and sneaking down to the creek with my siblings to fish, hang out or just explore.  The cicadas would sing their songs and we would gather their exoskeletons and attach them to our ears like rare jewels.  The nymphs would crawl from their holes in the ground, attach to a surface and emerge as an imagoe to sing their song and live their short lives looking for a mate.  I loved watching the sky, a bright blue accompanied by big cotton candy clouds billowing in the afternoons with the promise of a cooling shower.  Summer rains were the best.  The sky would darken and open up to pour a cool liquid on the steaming pavement and the thirsty lawns and fields.  It was a magical time of year, lazy days that seemed to go on forever.  We went on trips to the lake and swimming pools.  We made our own fun, invented games and made up our own stories.  We were free range kids. 

Houses would open up and young tanned bodies would explode into the street after bowls of sugary sweet cereal and glasses of Tang.  We would ride bikes, build forts and in the heat of the day hiding in and under big Mulberry trees napping and reading comic books.  Our knees were skinned and our faces dirty but we were content. 

Then came the early vestiges of fall.  Leaves dropped like tears on the tired brown lawns as the winds became crisper.  The rain came in the form of spitting cold razors cutting through sweaters.  The days were shorter and our time of being free range children came to an end.  We were cooped up in a classroom with the paste eaters and silent flatulence emitters.  Instead of foraging and exploring we were forced to sit by the window as the rain fell or the wind blew keeping its own company.  Walter Cronkite and Chet Huntly spoke of the protest taking place on faraway college campuses as the street lights illuminated the near-empty streets. 
The days started cool and crisp, frost shinning on the still green blades of grass.  We ran from our houses in sweaters with our Buster Browns laced up tight.  Our mothers packed lunches of bologna sandwiches and thermoses of Campbell's chicken noodle soup.  Room mothers invaded our classroom with ghost-shaped cookies and orange and black Halloween taffy and in an instant, we were making turkeys from the imprint of our hand and brown and yellow construction paper.  Then the time would crawl as we prepared for the annual Christmas program.  We learned our songs and routines while mothers sewed red and green felt outfits.  Our excitement palpable

            As an adult, I have come to appreciate those days when the leaves turn and the wind changes.   I love that the green begins to morph into yellow, orange and brown.  The crispness on the kiss of the wind is refreshing and the chill is an excuse to bundle up and wrap my hands around a warm mug.  I watch the squirrels desperately gather their acorns for their winter stash with fascination and feel the need to fill my own cupboard with hearty comfort foods. 
            The light fades earlier and once again I find myself sitting watching the rain fall on empty streets that glisten like diamonds.  It is the putting to bed of the summer, giving it a good rest so that in three short months it can once again rejuvenate and give birth to a new, brighter world and free-range children.

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