Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Goodness of Summer

Summer is good. It begins with promise and concludes with the next stage of fall. The tulips have disappeared and the tomatoes are ripe. Last summer was hot and dry while this summer is cool and pleasant. That’s the story of the marvels of the natural world of summer. We have had no sinkholes, no washout floods, and no tornadoes this summer.

Summers have brought changes into my life. This summer I have been settling into my new house after leaving the condo where I lived for ten years. It is the first time in my life when I moved alone. When I bought the house in March, a foot of snow was on the ground. When I moved into it during the Memorial Day weekend two months later, the grass was green, spring flowers were blooming, and children were running through the neighborhood. Very good.

On the first day in my new home it dawned on me that most of the rooms do not have ceiling lights. I had a few lamps and quickly bought more. One bedroom continues to be lit by an artist’s clamp light attached to a bookcase. Other events at home included new draperies and curtains, the flooded basement (due to rain) that kept carpet wet for a month, repairs to the leak in the kitchen sink, and new carpet for the living room and hall. I am sure that more is to come. Old houses are not perfect.

Other summers have produced changes. Here is one. My parents had a cottage at Clark’s Lake in the woods of Door County while my brothers and I were growing up. We lived in it all summer in 1951 instead of spending time there and at our year round home. We were beginning a new adventure. We moved to Sturgeon Bay and my father started a new radio station. The cottage was home until the parents found a house to live in when September came. For me it was a good summer of swimming in the lake, walking in the woods, swatting mosquitoes and living in a cottage without plumbing. That summer my life changed as I enrolled in a new school in a smaller community than the one we left in suburban Chicago, and I made new friends. More happened after that, but it wasn’t summer any more.

Another memorable summer with change was my wedding and new life with Rick. My mother and I spent the month of June preparing for the wedding, then the big day came, and after it was over, Rick and I went off to Milwaukee to live after a honeymoon in New Orleans. Our small apartment in Milwaukee was near a park. I went to the park often because we had no yard, and I pushed the neighborhood kids on the swings. This new married life was the biggest change of my life so far. My maternal grandmother and her sister were living in Milwaukee at that time, which was a plus. I have always loved my family.  It was a good but different kind of summer that ended with my resuming my education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I enjoy scavenging berries and apples each summer. Last summer’s drought diminished the harvest considerably. This year I found few raspberries and blackberries, and the apple harvest is just beginning. I have gone to Washington Island twice this summer and had a trip to Savannah, Georgia, at about moving time. I planted bushes, flowers, tomatoes and zucchini in my small yard. The neighbors are friendly. The yard has been populated by young rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. Summer is good.