"Mom, thunderstorms remind me of the glory of God." Lucy says, the crashing thunder that woke us just shy of 5am fresh in her mind. She capers down the one-step divider that leads to the sunroom, bare feet leathery and thick with summer play.
We tritt-trot out the back, the lawn abundant and moist between our toes. We beeline for the long rectangular garden lush with tomatoes and coleus, cucumbers, marigolds, green beans, geraniums. We drop to our knees and cultivate. We sweat under noonday sun, buckets of sweat. It drips out the creases of our elbows and knees as we weed the furrows of soil.
We weed and weed and drink in that good feeling at the end of our work. Accomplishment. Hard work. It tastes like a fresh peeled orange and handful of crisp grapes. It flexes like a sinewy muscle, a bond of belonging. Work. We work together.
And then we swim.
"I'm afraid this one's a little too short," I frown. I shake the black swim skirt, give it a good tussle, hold it up to my waist, frown again. "It's okay for by the pool, but then walking home..." Jane and I both stare at it.
"Are you afraid people will think you have disrespect for your body?" she asks.
Disrespect. An almost invisible film overlays the skirt.
"Yeah, actually I am." I toss the skirt on the dryer to deal with later, and we cavort off to the pool, our shoulders light as if we could possibly take flight along the way.
4611. Garlic scapes. A friend brings me garlic scapes.
4612. I tell the kids the story of John Newton. Amazing Grace.
4613. "Since Joe's so sweet, I sometimes pretend he's my baby," Lucy says. "Except I actually can't nurse him. That's the only thing."
4614. Myra scrapes the roof of her mouth. "Mom, can I have a band-aid in my mouth?" she asks. "I WILL open my mouth."
4615. Craig draws up plans for the chicken coop addition and executes. Architecture, engineering, and general contracting, simple math to his reasoning mind.
4616. Craig's brother and sister-in-law host the annual Fourth of July block party. It's a regular old-fashioned picnic, field games and all.
4617. We gather for small town fireworks with the families in our small group. Rachelle makes festive goodies in all manner of red, white, and blue, and the kids keep saying, "Happy Birthday, USA!" It's the first of a new annual tradition.
4618. I knit the first half of Lucy's new sweater.
4619. Family gathers down on the farm. We make a day around barbecued sausages and blackberry pie. We linger in the hot afternoon sun while Joey naps and various groups target practice, climb the cherry trees, or dillydally through the gardens.
4620. The cousins invite us to roast marshmallows and make s'mores. Sugar bliss, we trot home well into the night full and happy.
4621. A chalkboard, an old-fashioned green one. Craig procures a second-hand chalkboard for our school room. He hangs it next to the old farm table. The children scribble it full.
4622. I face the next season ahead, scorching hot summer, full of hope.