The Longest Days

Jun 20, 2017

 

Summer days are here: fast, bright, and hot.

We wake early but find that the sun has already beat us to it. These are the longest days, and they start without us. I sip my morning coffee and make my list. How is it possible to feel so behind at 6:30 in the morning?

Summer to-do lists are like none other:

Pick the snap peas while they’re still tender. Cut the sweet peas before they wilt. Visit the u-pick berry farm. Make freezer jam. Write that magazine story due tomorrow. Carve a dent, at least, in the email inbox. Write that check and mail it. Help the boys catch fireflies.

Summer priorities are topsy-turvy. Ripening strawberries and fat peas are things of urgency, but I’ve forgotten where I left my laptop. Was it two days ago, I last used it? There’s an important professional conversation I need to have, but I’ve missed the phone call twice. The first time, I was at the creek with the kids. The second, I was picking cherries.

An afternoon storm rolls in, the kind of summer storm that is all sound, little fury, and I think Lord, I love summer.

The boys start fighting (again), and I pray, Lord, let me survive the summer.

*

Summer days are so long, we have more than one second chance.

Here is one, and here is another. We explode in anger. We apologize. I make them hug. One shrugs. One runs away. We laugh. And we do it all again, three or four times. I maybe cry once, and then I tell my kids how I used to fight so terribly with my sisters I made my own mother cry.

Summer is crying mothers, and fighting kids; summer is fat, sweet strawberries, and lightning crashing like a cymbal on your head.

Summer is more, and more, and more.

Summer is magic.

*

Summer days run fast and hard until evening. Then the summer sun slows, almost stops, and you can hardly tell it’s sinking. Summer evenings taste like forever. I could finish that to-do list if I wanted, but urgency fades in the evening. Why didn’t I realize sooner? These are the longest days, and there is time enough.

Swift, swift times flies, but still there is enough for what matters: porch rockers, bubble wands, watermelon, one last visit to the new trees with a watering can.

The kids watch a movie and stay up too late. You and I walk in the meadow we made when you decided to stop mowing the grass.

There is time enough.

Stop running.

Summer is here. Why don’t we sit a while?

 

 

14 Comments

  1. Summer Gross

    I’m right there with you with the beauty and the fighting kids and loving the sweet taste of summer in eastern PA. Thank you, my dear!

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you for reading along, Summer! xoxo (P.S. You are well and beautifully named!)

      Reply
  2. Maria

    Oh those yummy sweet peas! In Roots and Sky I knew you had me when you described the sweet peas curling up the railings. Brought back childhood memories. Love your letters, blogs, next best thing to your next book.? No pressure.

    Reply
    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you, Maria! I am glad to hear that you are looking forward to more … stay tuned. I may just have some book news to share before much longer.

      Reply
  3. Grand Pam

    Loving and living this post.

    Reply
  4. Julie Pizzino

    I love this. No children are still in our home. They are dispersed to different summers: one is buying a first home (nearby) with his wife; one is headed to the Dominican Republic, then Italy; one is reveling in a Baltimore city summer. We are looking forward to our second annual Papa and Nonna camp. We indulge in watermelon, the scent and sound of mowed grass, lightning bugs, fruit popsicles (outside), s’mores around the firepit, and reading lots of books. I love your blog and revel in your Pennsylvania summer, Christie. Thank you, and may your summer days (and evenings) be long.

    Reply
  5. Cindy

    As a teacher, summers were always much anticipated and needed! I tried to cling to those days so tightly but they seemed to slip quickly by like sand through my fingers. I found myself cramming as much as I could into each one, coveting the time with my family, yet all the while counting down in my head how many days I had until school started. Now that I’m retired, I am finding a new rhythm. I can enjoy the little things. I can breathe. I look forward now to lingering summer days with my grands! Christie you continue to inspire and evoke such imagery with your words! I look forward to every post!

    Reply
  6. Teresa Wolf

    Beautiful. There’s something about your words in this post that bring to mind my favorite poem…..Dylan Thomas’ “Fern Hill.”

    Reply
  7. Danielle Jones

    I laughed about missing the professionally important phone call. I used to think summers were great for work–but not anymore. In the summer I find it very hart to force myself inside in front of a computer. I kinda resent it. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Melissa

    What fun days for everyone (yes, balance the good with the bad)!
    We’ll get to share our eastern PA summer with our Florida grandchildren in 3 weeks! We’re going to take them to “Diggerland” in New Jersey for the big treat. Picking peaches; tomatoes from my garden, hopefully; catching fireflys; and many other SUMMER things from the north.
    Thank you for your lovely photos.

    Reply
  9. Beth

    Perfectly and beautifully stated—I can totally identify!

    Reply
  10. Joseph

    What’s the prayer for asking that we can pre-order this book NOW? I have to work on the patience thing.
    I can almost smell and taste the plants and fruits and vegetables in your writing.
    PS – I started gardening in 2017 because of your writing. I can’t wait for next year’s growing season.

    Reply

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