I am enjoying this summer so much for no particular reason. Here's an essay I wrote years ago that was published in the local paper. It may be included in my current wip, as the main character is a writer who gets essays published in the local paper LOL.
I grew up in one of central Illinois’ small towns; and if I let the years roll back, I can see a typical summer evening.
It was a sweltering day in mid-July and the blazing sun had finally dropped like a red hot coal below the horizon. Our supper eaten, my sister and I had no desire to stand, dripping seat, in a steamy kitchen helping with the dishes. We sneaked out the back and ran to the green coolness of our “hideout” in the yard.
At the far end of the lawn sat a wooden tool shed crowded on one side by two abundant lilac bushes. There was just enough space between them for two young girls to sit side by side, backs against the rough, white-washed boards. Beneath us grew a dense, natural carpet of tough grass and delicate clover that felt cool on bare feet.
I chewed on a clover leaf, pale green and nearly transparent. It tasted both tangy and sweet, like the lemon and honey mixture mother would give to soothe a cough. There in our shady shelter, my sister and I hunched like two rabbits, nibbling on clover leaves and tender grass shoots.
One’s own backyard seems like another world when darkness takes over. As the evening light gradually dimmed into dusk, the foliage around us blended into one shadowy blur, and our hideout became a cave. We were explorers hunting for lost treasure buried here years ago by pirates.
Unseen crickets chirped loudly, sounding very near. Lightning bugs winked at us merrily. I caught one, pretending it was a fairy sprinkled with gold dust. Holding it in my cupped hand, I felt the tickle as it fluttered to escape. It soon crawled out from beneath my fingers, and I watched it stretch out secret wings and take off, blinking its way into the night.
The evening breeze felt cool and damp and smelled of green, growing plants. Mosquitoes like the night air, too; and soon we were slapping ourselves where we felt their itching stings.
Before long we heard mother call us in, so reluctantly we dragged our way into the house to get ready for bed.
Twenty years later, I am the mother standing at the back door calling my little adventurers back to the “real” world of baths and beds and “put your sneakers in the closet.”
As they troop up the stairs, I step outside just for a moment, before they realize I’ve gone. I need to catch a lightning bug and feel the sprinkling of fairy dust in my hand.