If I had to pick my favorite day of the year, this could be it. The Summer Solstice reminds me of the very best of my childhood. Playing Ghost in the Graveyard with the entire neighborhood, running and laughing, adrenaline pumping while you hid from the ghost. I can still see our parents chatting on the front porch and sipping iced tea.
When I was 11 it was 10:15 before the sun had fully set. We were living in Cincinnati at the time and I remember we all stopped running around for a second, as if to log that moment in our memory banks—the summer the sun didn't set until the witching hour. But then someone yelled, "MIDNIGHT!" and the spell was broken.
Maybe there's something in the atmosphere on this day because I finally feel as if I'm embracing this summer. I finished up a big project by 2 (probably the reaon I couldn't before today) and was actually anxious to get to the pool with the kids. After a mishap involving my refrigerator and massive quantities of water, I left my cell phone at home and joined the kids at the pool. It took me a moment to settle in, but then I just leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes to the sunshine and the sounds and smells of summer.
I love the aromatic bouquet comprised of suntan lotion (specifically Coppertone) and chlorine. I love how my boys' eyelashes form stars around their big eyes when they come up for air. I love how their All-American tanned bodies and wide toothy grins seem to reflect the glow of the sun. And how they throw their arms in the air, balls to the wall, trying their hardest to splash mom (and succeeding quite often).
There's a brief moment, before they ask for money for the concession stand, when they look at me with sheer happiness on their faces. Can you bottle that joy? Maybe keep it handy on the windowsill for days when you're grown and desperately trying to find the reason? One whiff surely would cure what ails ya.
While driving home, the boys were clamoring for ice cream. If summer has a taste it is grape ice cream. I had it once when I was 8 years old, on vacation in Mackinac Island and have spent a lifetime trying to find it again, that perfect mixture of sweet, tart and creamy. I guess I'll just have to settle for Orange Blossom, double scoop, from Honey Hut Ice Cream at Huntington Beach.
Think we'll jump on the bikes tonight and get some. Fortunately, we've got plenty of daylight left...