threeoutside (threeoutside) wrote,

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Thoughts while mowing my yard

I love the sound of someone else mowing their lawn. It enhances loafing, reading, watching an old movie on tv on Sunday afternoon...

It evokes summer memories that go way back. As a pre-teen I'd lie on my bed with the windows open and the summer breeze riffling the white lace curtains on my windows, bringing the distant burr of someone else's lawn-diligence in a soporific flow perfect for floating my daydreams upon. Another sound I loved, and which harmonizes perfectly with the neighbor's lawn mower is the coo-coo of the mourning dove.

I'd watch the snowy clouds drift across the sky, between the leafy branches of the towering American elms (yes, I'm that old), and sometimes think (as an 8 year old) there might be a mathematic rhythm to the clouds' passage. I'd count the seconds between one cloud's shadow and the next stroking my pillow's edge, but I never came up with the formula.

These reveries bring up so many summer memories that I treasure. My dad, uncle, cousin and I would go earthworm-hunting at night when the men were going fishing the next day. You wait until it's really dark after a rain, and you take flashlights, buckets, and gloves out to a wooded park. You tread carefully, shining the lights on the ground. The glistening earthworm skin winks in the yellow beam, and you grab the critter before it can slide back into its hole. The jackpot was two big, fat earthworms hooked together (for some reason my cousin thought this highly amusing - because he knew what they were doing and I didn't). It's not as easy as it sounds. Those buggers are fast! The memory of my uncle in his Bermuda shorts, black socks and sandals, and my dad - grownups! - engaging in this ridiculous activity with such seriousness (not really, but they did mean to go home with a good supply of night-crawlers!) just tickles me today. It was a great adventure for me.

And fireflies! Charm made of light. Sometimes my mom and dad and I would drive to a tiny suburb (long since engulfed by the cancer that is Omaha) where there was an ice cream shop that made the best malts in the world. We'd go on a Friday night after dark, and the route ran along a densely wooded creek. The stars like spilled sugar across the midnight-black sky, the darker black woods, lit up by millions of fireflies. . . I'll never forget the sight. I'm sure that was part of what made those malts so good. I can still taste them.

Many Friday afternoons we'd drive twenty miles to sand-pit lakes off the Platte River. There was one place we always went to. Those were the best swimming - I've never been able to enjoy chlorinated public pools. There were never many people and we'd swim and splash and build sand castles. That's where I learned to swim. I loved it when I could swim well enough to get out to the floating dock and climb up there, triumphant. Then I'd hang onto its edge and paddle my feet gently to attract the myriads of bluegills. They'd nibble gently at my toes. The best was when I got a diving mask. I'd push myself under the dock (still holding onto the edge) and come face-to-face with the curious fish!

Ah, summers. . . Sometimes we have to let ourselves just enjoy life and our best memories. I invite anyone to add their own summer memories here.

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