Tuesday, April 28, 2009

summer evenings.

Chicago is cool.

Well actually, it's cold.

Really really cold. And usually wet.

And though Chicago is a cool city, the weather here has been less than welcoming. In Chicago's defense, however, I will say that last Friday was gorgeously sunny and warm. It also happened to be the same day that I was cooped up indoors at the Oprah Show show for which I signed a waiver stating that I would neither talk about, report on, or blog about, or else I would totally tell you.

But my point is I was inside on the only perfect day we've had here so far.

Wait, wait. Actually the following Saturday started out quite lovely, too, making my commute on the subway en route to the matinee nice. I was all set to enjoy the weather between shows, too, but wouldn't you know that when I walked back up to the street level from the subway it was quite literally pouring buckets and the climate had dropped a good 30 degrees, making me wish I was wearing a slanket.

A waterproof slanket.

My walk home consisted of carrying my little blue umbrella above my head more for show than anything else, really, since the slanting rain and biting wind was only too happy to go around it. And under it. And every once in a while even flip it inside out. By the time I walked into my apartment, water was squishing out of those little air holes in my sneakers and my jeans had gained about twenty pounds in water weight.

No, it was not lovely.

But almost nothing beats the feeling of stripping off your wet and cold clothes and snuggling into something warm and dry. So there's that.

I am ready for summer, friends. Ready for tank tops and flip flops and light and airy skirts. I like the idea of eating a sandwich outside, sipping on a cool drink in perfect contrast to the warmth in the air. And I have two words for you that might make you smile:

summer evenings.

You know, porches and hammocks and stars that watch over it all. No, Orion will not be so visible since he tends to like the cold weather better, I think, but Cassiopeia might come out. Or if nothing else, there's always the Big Dipper, so obligingly recognizable. What is it about summer evenings that bring out the best in conversation? That cause all of us to forget about whatever demands the day has on us as we just linger over ideas, arranging them and exchanging them like some kind of rubik's cube of thought?

Even now I can almost hear the cicadas, feel the stir of the warm wind that brushes through the evergreens surrounding my parents' porch. I can close my eyes and see the great big Pennsylvania sky, all black and reaching and dotted with stars. I remember so clearly sitting on that porch, swapping scary stories with each other late into the night when all of the sudden there was a crack! and a boom! in the trees behind us that caused me and my brother to scream and my sister-in-law Darby to clutch my brother's leg so decidedly that even after we realized that there was no ghost, goblin, intruder, or demon about to get us, that the coast was very much clear, she was still clutching onto that leg giving us a good laugh and my brother a good bruise.

I am wholeheartedly looking forward to summer evenings. I hope they come sooner than later, I have to say.

And what do those two words conjure up for you?


peaj said...

Two years ago or so, on the first day of summer, my bride and I hung out at White Clay park. See, the park closes at dusk, so with it being the longest day and all, we stayed there quite a long time - watching the sun set, listening to the crickets, enjoying the peace and the deepening shadows. And, you know, enjoying each other's company.

Then a park ranger dude came rolling up in his pickup, and we noticed how very bright his headlights were compared to what suddenly seemed to be full-on night. We explained why we were still there at like 9:30 - longest day, yes? He was upset at first, but eventually seemed to accept that we were harmless, and we left without any black marks on our permanent records.

Mama Bear said...

I have been waiting for your post about the Oprah show?!?! Did you get anything cool?

Emily said...

I think the meaning of summer evenings is morphing into something new... lately, it means pushing bedtime back a bit to get to the ice cream pub while the girls are still functioning. But hopefully it will always include sitting on the porch with my best friend, and having the conversations that keep our relationship fresh and meaningful.

Jessica Latshaw said...

about the Oprah show--

unfortunately it was not one her favorite things episode and so I did not get anything--or at least nothing tangible.

I did, however, get some life perspective since her guests were the McCanns, a British family whose almost 4 year old daughter was kidnapped while they were vacationing in Portugal two years ago.

It was a very sad, somber show and I hope to God they get their little girl back.

Anna K said...

My dad built our house with a flat section of the roof, surrounded by low walls, on which we could sleep at night. We left our sleeping bags and pads out all summer, covering them with a tarp during the day to protect them from the New Mexico sun, and climbed up to the roof to sleep every night. Nothing like falling asleep under the stars. I can't wait to visit my childhood home this summer and sleep on the roof!

Michele said...

I have allowed the joy to be absent from summer evenings lately, but your post has made me resolve to get out there and smell the roses, as it were :) I do know that one thing I truly love is sleeping on the screen porch at Dawn's summer house in New Hampshire, listening to the lake lap against the house, hearing the cry of the loons and loving the rain on the roof!

Jessica Latshaw said...

I love all these images you guys gave--

longest day of the year spent with your favorite person, sitting on the porch with your best friend at night, sleeping under the stars on top of the house your dad built, listening to the lake, the loons, and the summer rain--it's all so beautiful.

thank you!