Sunday, July 17, 2011

surprise strawberry I found in the garden this evening!

I'm not a good 'relaxer.'  I think I have been at other times in my life, but right now, I'm itching to figure things out and get things done.  Things like where to live next, how to make more money and all sorts of logistics surrounding my fabrics and my future.  If I were a nail biter, I don't think I'd have any fingers left at all.  Because of all this, I'd decided I wanted to skip my family vacation and stay home alone to do research, send inquiry letters and try to find answers to as many of my questions as possible.  But my mom threw a fit, and my second cousin was counting on me to take her.  So I'll be on a barrier island off the coast of Virginia for five days, starting tomorrow.  I have two choices:  to resist every minute of the vacation, or to embrace it the way I would have fifteen years ago.  I'm going to embrace it, with a minor twist.  I'm making a list of things to do, so I can have the satisfaction of feeling like I'm fulfilling goals.  Yep, I'm a little bit nuts.

send postcards
ride my bike
take walks
start and finish a book
paint one watercolor
write in my journal
wake up early
drink coffee on the porch
take only outdoor showers
search in all the little shops for antiques (especially linens!) and other treasures
drink beer
jump around in the ocean
have lots of exciting conversations with my vivacious family
wear only loose, soft clothes
worrying is strictly forbidden

That's it.  Those are my goals for the week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hea(r)t of Summer

While not writing, I've been working.  And when I haven't been working, I've been eating.  Things like wild raspberries from near the Hazel River and sweet drippy peaches and watermelon from an old lady on the side of Route 229.  One evening, when I was home alone, I picked the first tomato of the year, hot with the heat of the whole day and heavy and gritty against my palm.  I cut it up and sauteed it in olive oil with swiss chard, some vidalia onion and some basil leaves from the plants I started in my bedroom windowsill when it was still chilly outside. 
 I mixed the melange from the garden with whole wheat noodles and ate it slowly out of a big bowl while watching  I Love Lucy.  Lucy has some dresses I'd love to wear myself.  After dinner, I started making chocolate chip cookie dough, noticed the sky through the kitchen window and wandered outside.  A mass of bruise-colored clouds milled above, but I could see a thin line of white horizon 360 degrees around it.  The wind picked up and made the trees and bushes sigh and bow.  As dark descended, I finished the cookie dough and the storm seemed to hold its breath.

And then thunder began rumbling, and lightening darted across the sky quick as a snake's tongue.  I turned off all the lights in the house and climbed the stairs to bed, the wood of each step creaking under my bare feet. In the summer in this house I grew up in, I love crossing the invisible line between the air conditioning downstairs and the hotter upstairs.  I like the moment when the air conditioning is around my ankles and the heat of the upstairs is around my head and shoulders and arms.  The floor shook with thunder while I brushed my teeth, the house lit up and went dark with the lightening, rain came down soothing and hard against the slope of the roof, and I couldn't wait to get into bed with my pile of library books.  After I shut off the lamp, the thunder moved off into the distance.  Haphazard bursts of rain splattered the shingles, while a chorus of what must've been at least a few hundred frogs sang in and out in the rhythm of someone breathing until I fell asleep.