A Study in Summer: Hide and Seek

“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.

Then came the Great Hiding! But where?

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.

While the Quietest found a reflection in the edge of the fish pond. And the Oldest went to find the cooler filled with ice-cold lemonade. 

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

23 Comments Add yours

  1. Hey, Sharon. My goodness. This piece is so beautifully written–almost like a poem in prose. Thanks for posting. I shared. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you so much, Marsha. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Carolyn Rae says:

    I en;joyed reading this.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Carolyn!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. carolynrae says:

    I enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathryn Jane says:

    What a beautiful memory. Thank you for so adeptly dropping me into a summer day in a garden filled with flowers, with children free of everything but fun. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you so much, Kathryn Jane! I so miss those days as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my did we play hide and seek. Our L-shaped street was full of kids and we played throughout the whole block. My grandmother and aunt lived next door to each other; so we played. And when the weather was bad, we even tried out my grandmother’s long hallway. LOL. The days of summer fun brought back in your loverly blog.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      I have wonderful memories of playing hide and seek as well, especially at night with flashlights. Sometimes I just miss the simplicity of how things used to be.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. joylennick says:

    A delight to read, thank you. Great photos too.. As an evacuee in WW11, I lived on Mountain Hare above Merthyr Tydfil, and wandered in a tiny wood called Pencoedcae, which I secretly ‘adopted’ as my wood…That was where I found ‘nature.’ Aah.x

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for sharing it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pat Amsden says:

    It may have been written re-pandemic Sharon, but it really brought back the joys of summers gone by. It was beautifully written and made me almost feel as if I was there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thanks so much, Pat! I miss those days when my kids were little!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Pat Amsden says:

        I know the feeling. It goes so fast. One day you’re swinging together in the park and drinking slurpees and the next they’re heading out the door all grown up.

        Like

  8. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:

    A beautiful post on family and the simple pleasures of summer by Sharon Wray​ on Word by Word​

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I remember playing hide and seek with my cousins as a child. I was the oldest (and bossiest) and made up the rules as we went along- so much fun 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      I bet that was fun! Especially since you were the one to make up the rules. I miss those days!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Kate Schweit says:

    Sharon I loved my visit to the gardens, particularly as the hot or pouring days of July pass by and I am home unable to travel as much this summer as we all tackle this terrible virus. The kids are adorable. Thank you so much for capturing a moment that helps me remember some of my best moments with my all grown up little ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you so much, Kate. I felt that same happiness/melancholy as I revised this post. Some days I do wish mine were still little!

      Like

  11. Esther Chase says:

    Sharon, I really felt like I was there! You truly have a gift with words and photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      What a lovely compliment. Thanks so much, Esther! I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Like

  12. What a fun, uplifting post! Thanks for making us feel like things are normal again by reading this wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharon Wray says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it–I am desperate to feel normal again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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