Dear Sunday Letter Readers,
Here in northwest Arkansas we had thunderstorms all night; it’s still storming, and there’s rain in the forecast all day. Rolling, booming thunder, the good sleeping sort except when it’s too loud and too much, which was last night. I woke up every hour it seemed. Now here I am drinking coffee, listening to the storms, writing this letter to you.
We survived soggy spring to see stormy summer? Hopefully not.
I’m exaggerating a bit. Since summer’s arrival, we have had several warm, hair-frizzingly humid days. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for more sunshine. A whole week in a row of sunshine. Maybe two. Three? Hold the frizz, please.
Oh my! If summer was a flower…she’d be all gussied up in a hot pink dress, wearing a frilly hat and a flirty smile.
Meet Double Scoop Bubble Gum Echinacea. She’s not mine. (Really, does any flower belong to another person?) She attracts passersby from my neighbor’s side yard.
She attracted me, anyway.
I always love the change of seasons. By the time summer arrives, I’m ready to cannonball into the deep end.
If you know anything about me, you know there are many, many summer things that feed my soul. For instance, I would give up most any food over watermelon, my spirit fruit.
Trips to the lake replenish me.
Like a child, I still count down to my birthday in July. Nana’s strawberry cake? Yes, please.
In the early (non-stormy) mornings you can find me inspecting my milkweed and coneflowers and dill weed looking for blooms, larva, caterpillars, aphids, everything good and especially the pesky.
Can we talk about peepers and cicadas and lightning bugs. Oh my heart. These are the sounds of my summer, the twinkle lights of sultry nights.
BUT what I really want to say… On the first day of summer, I always feel a tiny bit sad. It’s a nearly imperceptible feeling and really no big deal. But it’s there.
Because summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and I know all the days following will gradually grow shorter and shorter. I sense this need to hold on tight to keep summer from slipping through my hands. We’ve reached the top of the year’s Ferris wheel. And as we sit and rock in the breeze, I pause and cling to the good before the ride is over, before the year winds down.
Just call me Gracie Lee.
That was how my mind worked. I worried about things so far in advance of the bad that I never enjoyed the good. Nana said I was an old soul like her. Momma always told me not to stew so much about silly things…?
Does anyone else feel this way?
Friday, I spent the afternoon at the Fayetteville Public Library working on a freelance article. Then, while I was there, I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I browsed the aisles looking for books to check out.
It isn’t that I don’t often check out books. I do. But typically, I rush into the library and check out those I’ve heard about or those I have on my book club / Goodreads list. I can’t remember the last time I went to the library and casually looked at titles, read book jackets, simply browsed.
I’d forgotten how much fun it is to have no plan. No expectation.
I still browse at Barnes and Noble. Why had I gotten out of the browsing habit at the library where books are free? Makes no sense.
Libraries really are the most incredible resources EVER THOUGHT UP. It’s crazy and sad to me there isn’t a line out the building to check out books all day everyday. But that’s a different topic.
Anyway, I checked out two books I knew nothing about—Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison (a favorite southern writer) and I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death, a memoir that, fifty pages in, I already find mesmerizing.
It was bound to happen. Just after the garden tour, three adorable fawns were born (or moved in) just behind our back forty garden. Triplets. They’ve made a buffet of the hostas growing along the driveway. Of course they have. The hosta buffet is the perfect height for grazing toddlers.
Friday, after an afternoon of playing in the neighborhood (i.e. eating someone else’s hostas) they frolicked to the back of the driveway to find John grilling burgers. Two babies raced right beside him, ignored him, slipped behind the woodshed, and disappeared back into their playground. The third? He froze. He became the deer in headlights.
Go ahead, John said, waving him along. Deer baby rushed beside John to catch up with his siblings.
I’m afraid we may have to give them names.
This is a real problem, y’all. Deer everywhere in the city. Everywhere in the state. So stinking cute until they move onto the back porch and expect fluffy pillows at bedtime and sparkling water with supper.
Things Momma Says:
My bra is poking me. I need a hammer.
Until next time, dear Sunday Letter friends,
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.