Summer Mornings

Summer Morning by Charles Simic

I love to stay in bed
All morning,
Covers thrown off, naked,
Eyes closed, listening.

There’s a smell of damp hay,
Of horses, laziness,
Summer sky and eternal life.

I stop and listen:
Somewhere close by
A stone cracks a knuckle,
Another turns over in its sleep.

Farther ahead, someone
Even more silent
Passes over the grass
Without bending it.

And all of a sudden
In the midst of that quiet,
It seems possible
To live simply on this earth.

The above passages from Charles Simic’s poem – you can hear him read the whole thing here – capture the essence of summer, don’t they?

They remind me of childhood summers riding bikes too fast down the Lenox Street hill, skidding on the cinders and scraping our knees. In the evening, games of Red Light with Judy, Joanie and Richard on the curb in front of our house because we had the streetlight. Reading under a plum tree in the backyard. Walking a mile to a drugstore for an ice cream soda.

In my working years, summer was just another season, with weekends spent outdoors as much as possible. Now that I’m retired from the 9 to 5, summer days begin with a look at my schedule, reading and replying to messages online, and a cup of yogurt and some tea in front of Morning Joe. Later, a walk in the neighborhood or a yoga class on Zoom, maybe some writing, volunteering, lunch with a friend, cooking, eating, cleaning up after ourselves and the cat….and in the afternoon, reading time.  No wonder it feels like the season flies by.

If I stayed in bed all morning with the windows open I’d hear traffic or mowing. How can I recapture those endless summer days? Simic’s last line is a clue: “In the midst of that quiet, it seems possible to live simply on this earth.”

It’s possible, even without moving to a farm and staying in bed all morning. Last night, I sat on our deck and watched the pine trees swaying their branches and the bees and white butterflies enjoying our lavender bushes. I watered my basil, parsley, chives, mint and oregano in their clay pots and pinched off some dead leaves. I wrote in my journal. And I saw a little praying mantis walk deliberately along the railing to my petunias. I would not have seen her if I hadn’t stopped to look.

 

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