I’ve been looking for signs of summer and trying to capture that carefree essence that defines the season. Where we live, the weather in June is definitely transitional. A blanket of fog appears many days, and sometimes the sun never appears. I’m reminded of the Carl Sandburg poem:
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
then moves on.
I wonder if the miasma of overwhelming current events and loss is obscuring the social and natural signs that we are on the cusp of summer? That the next three months will be different is a given. But today what I’m looking for are signs of the lazy season that defines our personal lives.
One sure signal of summer at our house is the fruit ripening on the apricot tree. Contrary to the legend that apricots bear heavily every other year, our tree—for the second year in a row—is heavy with fruit, some hanging in bunches like large, pale orange grapes. This bounty will be eaten with juice squirting down our chins and onto our shirts. Some will be transformed into John’s famous apricot jam, including a few jars that will be laced with Kahlúa dark rum. Spread over fresh goat cheese and served on crackers, it is delish! Running a finger around an almost empty jar isn’t bad either …
In our family, June is a month of celebrations. We have two birthdays, Father’s Day, and this year a high school graduation. Our granddaughter Rhyse Chamberlin Scholle graduated from high school on June 12. I am so proud of this young woman! I could tick off her academic, athletic, social, and activist accomplishments, but the whole of Rhyse is so much more. To put it simply, she is beautiful inside and out. I could also tell you about her sometimes bone-chilling honesty, but we won’t go there. All right—I’m a proud Grandma.
I want to tell you about Rhyse’s drive-by, outdoor graduation ceremony. Crammed into the allotted two cars, a rowdy chunk of the family drove a circuit where various high school groups framed by black-and-gold clusters of balloons cheered and offered congratulations. This short drive culminated in the graduation site. About 100 feet from a grassy knoll, Rhyse hopped from the car. With “Pomp and Circumstance” playing in the background, she walked up to where her mother and the principal were waiting. Heather, our daughter, is the mental-health services coordinator for the school district, and she was giving Rhyse her diploma. As Heather released the tightly wound scroll into Rhyse’s hand, wild cheering from our two vehicles erupted, and I thought, I will never forget this moment. That I was overwhelmed with love for Rhyse and Heather is a given. But this ceremony touched my heart in a way that no other graduation ceremony has. It was poignant, precious, and significant.
This Sunday is Father’s Day, and the family will gather for an outdoor brunch to celebrate the dads in our family. There will be two new guests: Sadie Lu and Red Ted Teddy, our doxie puppies, who will meet Kingsley, a Belgian Malinois, for the first time. Fingers crossed on that one. John, the family patriarch, will pray over a table laden with brunch goodies. Champagne and soft drinks will flow, and we will laugh and eat, some will play basketball, and we will talk, talk, talk—just being family and being together. And I think for this year that is enough.
By the way, the forecast for Sunday is early patchy fog giving way to sunshine and a projected temperature of 81F. Hooray! Summer is finally here.