Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Beginning of the End

August first. Only thirty days of summer left. If I was a kid, I'd be getting desperate. You see, if December 25th and the first of June were my favorite days`of the year, September 1st was my least. June 1st meant liberation. I mean, set the captives free.

With September, autumn was close (it's still my favorite season), but still, it was always tinged with the dulling doldrums of school. The first day of summer, on the other hand, I'd wake with anticipation: three whole months of opportunity lay ahead. Temperatures rarely got out of the 70s to low 80s in June and it was perfect for everything. July 4th was traditionally hot, and if it was going to hit 100, that was August's responsibility.

I remember meadowlarks singing in the morning, playing the home to

Galloping a horse barebackImage via Wikipedia

wn version of Little League Baseball, and riding my horse along the Highline Canal, a farmers' irrigation system that ran next to our house. The canal was paralleled by a dirt road that shared the bank with huge cottonwoods that grew one after another, as though someone had carefully paced off their saplings years before. They were so thick, when they shed their cottony seeds in summer, it was like a snowstorm.

I had chores to do, but mostly it was time to just be. Sometimes I'd ride my horse
bareback to the shade of a small elm in our pasture. I'd strip leaves from low branches, hold them by my knee, and he'd twist his head back to take them. There we communed until the sun shifted and our reverie was interrupted by the heat. It was a wonderful way to spend a summer day.

I never was very good at baseball, but I liked playing. I liked the comaraderie, the smell of my leather glove, and walking home after a game. I don't think I realized it at the time, but whether we won or lost, what I enjoyed most was playing. It was part of summer, part of feeling like the whole world was wide open and the only limits were the ones in my imagination.

(Image via Wikipedia)

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