Absolutely, without question, above and beyond all others, my favorite season. The last bell of the school year ushers in a tidal wave of adventurous hopes. Where will we go? What will we do? What will we not do? What books will we read?
With our daughter’s wedding behind us, this summer looks forward to the birth of our first grandchild in August alongside a lazy, dreamy-eyed stroll in search of ripe thimbleberries or mulberries. For fruit is summer. There is a kind of looking back to look forward quality in these long days. Will the feeling of summer linger, will it taste the same, but new?
I wrote this poem while sitting in an adirondack chair on the shore of Lake Monona. It sounds idyllic, but the idyll was interrupted by a giant boat-load of U.W. college students blasting Kendrick Lamar as loud as their boat speakers would allow. They imposed their fun on all of us quiet wanderers. So often summer is about making room for the unexpected guest or hummingbird tapping at the window. But we must slow down to see them and listen, to bask in their fleeting glory. Enjoy!
On the first day of summer
I felt homesick,
so I picked mulberries at
San Damiano – the recently sold
to the city of Monona friary
about to become who knows what?
Battling the grackles
for low-hanging fruit,
my blood red fingers hunger
for the nostalgic flavor
of a childhood summer.
Barely reaching on tip-toe,
“Just pull the branch down,”
Mama’s distant voice reminds,
seeing my tug-of-war for tang.
One yank produces a
speckled purple ground cover,
an early summer feast.
Years ago, we cut our mulberry down,
bending to neighbor complaints,
“It’s too close for such a messy tree.”
We planted a Rainier Cherry instead,
on Father’s Day.
How we gloried in those first five blossoms,
but moved away before the harvest.
Ah, to inhale the ephemeral
breath of summer,
dressed in her grass stained,