This winter, with its heart-breaking tempests and bleakness, calls back memories of the glory of summers past. Sparkling moments, limitless possibilities, beauty everywhere, saturating my soul. Sunlit portraits flicker before me, of a season that seems beyond grasp. Forever lost in the emptiness of “someday.”
When my boot scuffs against the bare earth, with its frail covering of lacy snow, I can’t help remembering hoeing in the blistering noon sunshine. Like a piece of calico, the deep brown soil forms the backdrop for thousands of perfectly spaced spots of color – the crimson berries peering out from their leafy umbrellas. I remember the strangely wonderful feeling of the hoe, furrowing beneath the sandy surface, severing every little weed that dared show its miserable face.
After I come indoors from the cool, crisp breeze, into the overpowering heat of the coat room, I’m brought back to the sweltering greenhouse, and imaginary beads of sweat roll down my forehead. Pruning cucumbers, picking tomatoes, weeding lettuce. Whatever the task, it was sure to be hot, itchy, and endless. But oh – now that it’s over, I’d give anything to be back, alone with my thoughts and an overgrown lettuce patch.
When I walk through the silent snowy woods, bundled in enough layers for three or four of me, I long for the days when just a t-shirt and jeans would cut it. Wrestling on all those pairs of wool socks almost makes me forget about the tick-checks and poison ivy and hot, heavy chore boots.
I trudge my way to sluggish, half-frozen river, and it hardly seems to be the same one that we canoe down every Labor Day. Forlorn cattails, stripped of their furry coats, shiver in the icy breeze. They seem to have forgotten the sunshine, birdcalls, and splashing oars of day gone by, when the idyllic afternoon silence was broken for a few brief moments to allow for our parade of jolly vessels, loaded with shouting, laughing voyagers, on the journey to the annual potluck.
My mind wanders back to that day when I pop a bag of last year’s frozen sweetcorn into the microwave – a pathetic mirror of hot, fragrant corn-on-the-cob, slathered in butter and salt, with crackling burgers fresh off the grill, homemade pickles, Grandma’s baked beans, thick slices of juicy tomato, picked just that morning. A multitude of salads –potato salads, Jell-O salads, marshmallow salads, lettuce salads. Lemonade, Ginger Ale, Sarsaparilla, Squirt, and refreshing ice water. And of course bars – pans and pans of bars of every shape and kind! With these tantalizing memories comes the music – tuning banjos and guitars, the laughter of old friends being reunited, Ring-Around-A-Rosie, the voices of young and old, swelling in worship.
When the days grow cold and my heart grows numb, I gaze out the window, longing for summer. The grey sky should be blue – bluer than blue. Life should be rushing by in glorious excitement, color, and exhilaration!
One day, perhaps very soon, that summer will come at last.