“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, And left the flushed print in a poppy there. ” ~ Francis Thompson, “The Poppy,” 1891
(This is a repost of a blog journal entry I wrote years ago, pre-pandemic. But I wanted to share it because while it’s slightly melancholic it’s also filled with hope. I hope you enjoy it.)
Although Summer is half over, I’ve been collecting days like drifting leaves, both in my memory and with my camera. It’s a bittersweet chore because I know these days will be gone in a single breath, replaced by school clothes, pumpkin carvings, and Christmas plays. Hopefully these summer journals will one day remind my children that although summers in Virginia were hot and lethargic and almost unbearably humid, they once found an unbounded joy in just being.
Hide and seek was a favorite with my children and their cousins. A lot of time and effort went into the hows and whys. And the goal of our first picnic a few days after school got out? To play the most intense Hide and Seek game EVER in the walled garden at Oatlands Plantation.
But first came the Serious Negotiation: Who will be on who’s team? Girls against boys? Oldest versus youngest? How to evenly divide by age, experience, and speed.
Next step was strategizing by the reflecting pond with the Littlest, the Loudest, and the Oldest.
During the Great Hiding, I knew my part. Carry the food, restate the rules (no leaving the Littlest behind, no trampling flowers), and follow discreetly with my camera. I hovered in the rose garden keeping quiet watch on the smaller children while photographing flowers.
They were afraid my photographs would somehow be sent via super-secret satellite to the other team, giving away their exact locations, without realizing their laughter did a far better job. But once the first was discovered, the running commenced.
Time-out came fast and furious due to a butterfly flying by which the Littlest had to chase.
After a break, we went to the Upper Garden (a staple of Colonial Revival Gardens in Virginia) where the Fastest began the hiding and running all over again. Meanwhile, I stayed nearby (despite their protests), snapping photos, waiting for the Littlest to trip or the Loudest to be reprimanded by the Master Gardeners who’d arrived for a class on boxwood-lined parterres.
Finally, when the lemonade had disappeared along with the dozen brownies I’d tucked away, the Oldest called the day’s game a draw while the Loudest decided it was time to go home. So we packed up, with promises to come back soon.
As we left, the children chattered about the weeks and weeks of summer ahead, anticipating the picnics and sleep-overs, and how school seemed years away. My sister smiled. She knew the truth.
Time slips by quietly, hidden beneath the drone of summer crickets and the weight of unending Virginia humidity. And one cold November day, over silver trays of turkey and stuffing, she’ll whisper to me, “Where did the summer go?”
What is a “Study in . . .”? A visual record defined by a single element, such as color, texture, or type.
I hope your remaining days of summer are filled with joy and ice-cold lemonade!
Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Amazon bestselling Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.
Her third book, IN SEARCH OF TRUTH, is about an ex-Green Beret desperate to win back the woman he loves and save the men he betrayed, even if he must make the greatest sacrifice. It’s available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks| Google | Kobo | IndieBound | Audible