It’s Not Going to Be Summer Forever

IMG_4189This morning I drove the back roads home from Jimmy and Sara’s dairy, the bed of the truck carrying soured milk for the pigs, the air still heavy with the remnants of yesterday’s storm, the news radio doling out its too-familiar tales: Gold medals and handguns. Burning cars and swimming stars. Politicians I can’t make sense of, though maybe I should try harder. Or perhaps I should try less hard; maybe that’s the trick.

I turned the radio off and listened instead to the sound of truck tires on the wetted gravel road, the splash of water at the puddles, the lowing cows at the farm where a fence runs along the height of a hillside pasture, wires and posts etched against the sky. I always watch that fence when I pass, and I pass it often. And I thought of the young man who drowned three days ago at the pond a mile down the road from my parent’s house, the house I grew up in, 15, maybe 20 miles from here. I learned to swim in that pond, and I recalled this morning how once a friend and I were messing around there; I was in the water and he was on the shore and he lobbed a softball-sized rock in my direction, meaning just to splash me, but his aim was too good, or his arm too strong, or both, and I could see the rock coming for me as if I were calling it in. I was trying to run but too slow because running in  water is always too slow, so at the last second I dove, scared and sure of injury, and indeed the rock fell directly atop my back, but I was deep enough that it hardly hurt. My friend almost cried, he felt so bad, and I told him it was ok. But man: I was pissed.

Back home the pigs get their breakfast, and I stoke the fire for another coffee. Firewood today, I think. It’s not going to be summer forever.


11 thoughts on “It’s Not Going to Be Summer Forever”

  1. Same pond, 40 years ago, I was sitting in ankle-deep water at the pond’s edge, talking with a friend on shore. Rubbing my eye, my fingers caught a pebble that my friend’s young son had thrown in my direction.

    1. Hello Swami Nona. Please tell us readers, if you would, of your take on the curious similarities, the magical interwoven tentacles, of Ben’s rock and your pebble. Seems like you might have something more to say.

      1. I sometimes think the unconscious bears foreknowledge. Because Ben saw the rock coming, unconscious foreknowledge may not have affected his quick response. In my case, I did not see the pebble coming, just “happened” to be massaging my right eye when that flying pebble wedged itself between my fingers.

      2. Thanks Swami. I too believe the unconscious has the good habit of bearing foreknowledge.We just need to be wise enough to notice the incoming and handy enough to utilize it. Thing is, those of us neither wise nor.handy can always depend on Ben’s help here in his blog. Remember that post where he (Ben) was rubbing that cow’s horns and Jupiter was watching over? Well, that was some good old-school unconscious foreknowledge. It was like your pebble, landing perfectly without even trying.

  2. I don’t know how you feel about the end of summer. I think you like winter. I really like winter where we live. It rains and everything gets green and it’s not beasty hot. A person can get things done outside.

    Then there’s that old metaphor about life and the seasons. In that case I think I like spring the best. Full of promise and vitality. Fall is good because we’re seasoned and wise. Winter. I’m in it. Or maybe I’m at the tail end of Fall going into Winter. I’ve seen that Winter in the eyes of my older friends and I’m not sure I like it much. Here it comes anyway.

  3. Some storm it was! Kids ran under the gushing gutters, the only way I get them to shower. We admired the Green Mointains after the storm and they looked smokier than Smoky Mountains. Down in Rutland VT, three of your books are stacked on the front shelf in the downtown bookstore. 🙂
    I like these stories. The gravel and puddles and the soured milk and best friends who throw rocks.

  4. I was visiting the cattle in their high mountain summer pastures near Fairplay, CO, last week and the morning temperatures were down into the 40’s. Pretty chilly for early August, even at nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, still some of last winter’s snow on the tops of the mountains, a sober reminder that snow will be back in another six weeks or so. Cold weather in August makes you appreciate those thermos bottles of hot coffee, tea, and beef bouillon and a cooler full of fresh cold cuts, cheese, and tortillas.

  5. Summer really is not forever. Come to enjoy all summer days. Playing around we occasionally make mistakes that hurt sometimes. But it is better to forgive if not intentional. Very beautiful tale of summer!

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