Having been summoned from daydreaming, ruminating, and general gathering of wool, I have my own corner of aestival excellence to share. Here are some facets of life that have loomed large of late in the kaleidoscope of my imagination:
Lawns. Is it odd to have such affection for a big patch of grass? Very well, I shall be odd. My particular lawn has been carefully cropped, groomed like an Oxford quad, but without the threat of severe displeasure from some vexed gardener should any dare to set foot upon it. It is rich, opulent, luxurious the way carpets wish they could be – particularly when combined with
Rain! Nothing like rain to break the summertime swelter, drops pelting the parking lot at work, the road home, one arm flung out the window as I head back. Nothing like luxuriating in soaking wet grass, wriggling my toes among the drenched blades. Nothing like turning my face to the sky, though the drops fall too hard to keep my eyes open in the face of them.
My commute. I keep wanting to post about this and then stop because it seems bizarre and hypocritical; if I could, I’d teleport to and from work to save myself some time. But then I’d miss passing the farms on Ann Arbor Road, with their cows and horses and hay bales. I’d miss the fields and foliage down Prospect. I’d miss my favorite roundabout (…yep, I’ve got a favorite roundabout) on Geddes, that takes me down a two-lane road so shadowed by trees that it feels like a secret. Pairs well with…
Driving with the windows down. Instead of being packed like a lemming in my shiny metal box, I like to let the wind blow my hair around, thrust my hand out into the buffeting air, and feel the bite of rain showers. It reminds me that I’m real. It also helps me appreciate another fact about the summer: there’s no better time of year to listen to some good old country songs (which means, evidently, songs that aren’t quite as old as I am…). Maybe it’s me, but there’s something summery these songs capture that newer tunes just don’t quite catch…a quiet drawl of slower days, perhaps, or a lack of pretension.
Clouds. Storms. Melpomene’s right on: clouds are a thing fantastic, rippling and shifting as if alive. The light that glimmers upon them, or the shadows looming within them, is marvelous. Add in flashes of lightning and the distant rumbling of thunder and you have my idea of summer, right there. My co-workers all wonder why I run outside precisely when they run in…
Fireflies. For those less fond of lightning itself, there’s always the lightning bug. The back lawn is a haven for them; for hours every evening, they flicker on and off, little green will-o-the-wisps, a creature of faerie my camera cannot capture. A friend caught one, but it’s just as fun to watch them fly about without pursuing them.
[These fireflies were captured by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu.]
Crepes. Turns out that they’re much easier to make than I had thought. Keep the batter thin and the pan hot, and voila! You have yourself a lovely little vehicle for all manner of cheese, meats, fruits, jam, or (of course) Nutella.
Adventures. This is an awfully big umbrella. New films, drinks, sushi, and chocolatiers fit under it. The heptacycle and all seven people riding fit under it. A lovely old quadrangle with selections from Brideshead Revisited fits under it. So does Neil Gaiman and the theater waiting to hear him. So does the art gallery in need of a good mocking. So do Shakespeare, grass stains, and six-hour road trips. So does the process of meeting a friend through a friend, and thus meeting more friends, and suddenly having more friends and three jars of homemade jam. Get out your adventure umbrella, y’all, because that’s what summer’s for!