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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

The field next door is perfectly mowed, I look at it because to me it is the world… my world. The world that keeps me company every summer. In the middle we’ve carved out a baseball field where we play every day. I never worry about being the last one chosen… they all want me on their team. I run fast. I hit hard. I throw far. I never give up. I am wild.

There’s a dirt track that circles the boundary, worn down from the motorcycle that the boys next door own. I sneak on it, out of the sight of my grandmother. My legs are too short to crank the kick-starter so the boys do it for me. I ride around the track, my sweaty brown hair flapping uncontrollably in the summer heat as I beg the bike to go faster as I approach the bump that will send me into the air for a brief second. I am wild.

The boys are waiting as I round the corner, screaming at me over the roar of engine to stop because it’s their turn. I keep going — they’re twice as old and twice as big as me but I laugh wildly as I tear past them for another time around the track and over that bump. They curse at me, laughing, when I finally stop and call me punk and squirt and pat my head and none of them go as fast I did — none of them. I am wild.

The sun disappears and we say our goodbyes for the night, I’m the last one to leave at the end of every day and the first one to arrive in the mornings. The boys walk to sit with the adults gathered in the backyard of their house. I turn and give the field a final look before I wind my way through the opening in the bushes that separates the field and the serene perfection of my grandmother’s immaculately groomed back yard.

She sits by the open window, the warm breeze blows the curtains back just a bit, the family next door laughs and screams and curses. She can smell the spilled beer and the unfiltered cigarettes as if she were standing in the middle of them… instead of where she is, on the edge of the footstool peering through the open window. I join her.

We watch together and listen together and we are silent, together. I wonder if she wishes she were sitting in the backyard with them… unencumbered by the foul smells and prickly words thrashing through the summer air all around them. I look at her. I see the want in her eyes… briefly. I stand up, tired of watching, and walk away, leaving her there… still staring.

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Day 3 of the 21.5.800 challenge. I’m not sure I should refer to it as a challenge — maybe just a community venture. Anyway, I was focusing on my breathing this morning during yoga — I did very well actually. I placed the cell phone just out of my reach and tuned out the noises of my house and began. At the end of my practice, I decided to do the savasana pose to really end on a calm note. For those of you who don’t yoga, savasana is also known as the corpse pose.

Pretty cool, huh? This pose is actually fairly hard for many people — including me. Because it requires you to still yourself, to still your breathing, to tune out the outward world, for a while anyway. I didn’t stay in savasana for very long — maybe a few minutes… but, it was long enough that I was taken away briefly from my house and transported back through time to the many summers I spent at my grandparents house…

As the youngest of four, I was always the token summer offering for my grandparents. This never bothered me actually (maybe a little around my sixteenth birthday but I’ll vent about that in a future post), I enjoyed being the center of attention. But, that’s not all the summers were about. I worked in the garden and helped can vegetables and helped cook and ran to the neighbors to borrow things and to bring them their mail. I ran down the hill to my great Aunt Dot’s house to spy on the neighbors through her window. I explored the fields around the house including the old well and I rode a mini-bike with the cute grandsons of the next door neighbor. I caught lightning bugs at night and counted the bats as they flew around during the evening hours. I would sneak off to the bowling alley with my grandfather and watch him play cards and always promised not to tell my grandmother about the money being exchanged. My summers were filled.

My grandfather was the shopper in the house. Everyday my grandmother made him a list for the store — everyday. And everyday he and I went, to not one, but three different stores to collect each item. The trips to the store with my grandfather were always fun — for several reasons.

Each day we would load up boxes with some of the booty from the garden — potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, watermelon, strawberries — their garden was huge. My grandfather and I would take the stash to each store we visited and go straight to the produce man. We always held hands. His hands were huge and calloused and protective. The produce man would inspect each item and then the fun would start — the bartering. By the time we left the final store, we would only have a few items left in our box — in addition to the items from the list that my grandmother so carefully made each morning. The items that were left over had perhaps the greatest significance to me. My grandfather and I would take the remaining items and wait in the parking lot behind our final stop for the coke truck to drive up — always holding his protective hand. Then, the greatest bartering session would begin — the one that always garnered me a case of coca-cola… in glass bottles, ice-cold.

We would return to show-off all the things we had gathered during our morning bartering sessions to my grandmother — I think my grandfather and I were more impressed with our shopping skills then she was. Then we would sit outside in the scorching hot day and enjoy our cold coca-cola — with his arm around me, smiling and reliving our morning experience. We repeated this scene each day during the summers — it never got old. I was always willing to go with him to the store… even as I got older. Because, the end result of that cold coca-cola and his arm planted firmly around me in the swing was my reward…

My savasana came to an end. I could hear the commotion of kids downstairs — I opened my eyes and was back in my room. Only a few minutes had passed, but my memories of holding hands with Poppy are with me forever. So, I think the breathing worked today — I think I was able to find some inner calm.We’ll see if yoga is able to continue to seep into my daily activities — but right now, I’m going to find a hand to hold and a swing to sit in and maybe I’ll even enjoy a nice cold coca-cola.

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