Summer Time is half way between unbearable heat and cold running water; the most hated insects in the world and the most beautiful and fascinating ones; working like a dog and sleeping like an old mutt; eating like a five-year-old and feasting like a king; playing like children and remembering day’s past like old folks would; loving the sweet sunshine and hoping for a dramatic storm; broasting like a lobster and shriveling like a prune.
I don’t know why, but there’s a place a few miles from home where perpetual summer reigns. There are green pastures and quiet creeks and when you drive down these narrow, rough, curvy roads, you find Summer Time. It’s kind of magical
Summer Time isn’t a destination, as much as it is a feeling.
It’s warm, itchy, sweaty, and sweet, scented, sticky. And it is more than that. It’s like a hug from all of creation. If the globe could wrap its arms around you, how would it feel? I think it would feel like summer.
This past Thursday, my brother, cousin and I went to Summer Time.
Our physical destination: a small family cemetery in the middle of a public wilderness area, where our several-greats grandfather and some other relatives were buried, many, many years ago.
As we drove those magical roads, we came to some I had never crossed before. We only saw 3 other cars, on the road, as we went. It was quiet, except for the wind buffeting our eardrums through the SUV’s wide open windows.
We passed a huge field of what must have been soy beans. They were in beautifully straight rows, and all about 1 & 1/2 inches tall.
We turned off on another road, and drove until we came to a clearing in the roadside trees and brush. There was a gate, with a sign that said
We parked, got out, put on our hats, and took up our gear. We walked around that gate with the sign, because it had no fence to stop us.
Behind the gate was a trail. Tall pines and oaks grew everywhere, but I hardly noticed them for all underbrush.
It had rained the night before, so the overhanging branches of each bush, showered us as we walked past. Before long, we heard loud buzzing and realized horseflies and mosquitos were already upon us.
So we waved our arms and swatted at them with Beautyberry twigs.
We did that for about a mile as we tramped along,
Then, we turned a corner, and saw a crooked gate, guarded by two old-fashioned gravestones, just inside.
We walked past this gate, like we had the first. And felt the stillness of the graveyard, in the stillness of the woods, surround us.
This stillness didn’t reign for long though. The boys began to chop at stubbly shrubs had already grown up a foot off the ground, and needed to be cut back before they took over the entire cemetery again. Just a few years ago this place was unknown to most of us and it was just as grown up as all the woods around it. Many people had put a lot of time and effort into clearing the site, and we want to keep it open.
I sat down on a fallen log, and watched them, thankful for a rest from all the hungry horseflies, who weren’t hungry enough to come after us into the clearing. Then after a bit I began to walk around and examine the graves more closely. There were only a few head stones. most of the graves were marked with white metal crosses, that were rusting. There’s no way to know exactly who is buried there.
To commemorate the occasion, we took a picture.
Next, we made an exhausting, unnerving march back out of the woods, to the road and the SUV. The bugs were just as bad, if not worse, and the walk was much faster. It seemed so much longer, so it was a relief to get back to the main road.
After we got some water from the vehicle, we decided to walk up the road a short way to a bridge crossing a little creek.
There was a steep hill leading down to the water under the bridge, that was covered with big rocks to keep it from washing out. My brother went down with no hesitation. My cousin and I followed shortly, after we had walked out on the bridge to have a look.
We each took turns clamoring down the rocks to the water to wash our sweaty faces. Then we all sat down there, on the rocks, in the shade of the bridge, and talked about nothing and dipped our hands and feet in the water.
It was Summer Time.
What do you love about summer?