Summers Past

It’s still cold in New York City, so I’ve been yearning for summer and thinking especially about ones from my childhood:

The dream-world of dawn blossoms into blue-eyed morning as we slumber. Summer light wakes us and beckons us outside.

Sunrays warm the necks of the five sibling adventurers. From the garden overtaking the chain link fence I pluck a honeysuckle flower. It tastes like liquid June. The sprinkler sputters to life and we run through, shrieking in delight. We laugh and chatter for so long that we forget we are different people.

Morning glides silently into a sleep-laden afternoon swelling with anticipation. I don’t know which I relish more: the outdoors, hot as a dragon’s breath, or the kingdoms and uncharted lands I explore in the dusty tomes of the cold stone and marble study.

Ink black as obsidian crawls, trots, then whizzes by until I find myself treading the dunes of an Arabian desert or standing tall on the helm of a free-sailing ship with the wind against my back. Time loses itself and so do I.

The bone-white pages begin to merge with the ebony ink. I look up. It has darkened outside. I run out. The air churns with warmth and coming cold.

Beyond the shaggy-haired guardian trees shivering their branches in the wind I see moody clouds throbbing black and thunder, so far above they seem to be painted against the canvas of the sky. Clear drops of healing life-rain shoot like nimble arrows from the heavens, landing on my upturned face. I stand in awe, then flee inside.

Twilight sets in and all signs of rain vanish except for the drip from the leaves of the trees. Crickets emerge. Fire streaks the sky. The evening unlocks our imaginations. What hides beyond? Do wolves prowl the forest? Is that a fairy kingdom glowing beneath the toadstools? Is that just the wind blowing through the woods, or is it the trees humming their sing-song language among themselves?

Purple night blankets everything. We the siblings set out on daring missions with no aim other than to remain unseen, like creatures of the night. We hurtle across forbidden tracts, whipping past kitchen portholes, making the people inside take a startled second glance that catches nothing but shadows.

We collapse in a heap on our home territory, choking on laughter as fireflies blink electricity around us.

The parents call us inside. I slip into chill, crisp sheets and close my eyes. Etched on my eyelids are fragments of the lands I encountered in the study’s old volumes. They fill my vision, and I follow them along the whimsical path leading to slumber. Sleep washes everything away to prepare me for tomorrow, when I will wake up and realize to my utter joy that it is still summer.

17 thoughts on “Summers Past

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