The gym was too hot. The sun is relentless. It shouldn't hurt to bring in the morning paper. But it does. The ground is burning a granular pattern into the bottom of my slippers. I have to remember to wear flip flops outside in the summertime. Shoes with slipper-like soles can't take the temperatures and my feet are paying the price. I'm sitting inside in an air conditioned, hermetically sealed environment, and it's only 10:10 on Sunday morning.
I'm taking us back to Long Island, Burrow-ites. It's humid and the sky is blue. There's a 20-then-30-then-40-foot pin oak tree smack in the middle of the back yard. It's the biggest backyard in the neighborhood, and at various times it has had a sandbox (square, wood framed, with triangular seats in each corner), a swing set (2 simple swings with thick wood seats, a 2-person push-me-pull-you and a straight slide on the end) and a Marion-the-Librarian-front-porch swing.
Every other yard in the neighborhood is its own little fiefdom, set apart by a fence or a thicket of bushes. Ours is open space to Uncle Ob's, and it always feels tremendous. There are places to hide and sneak cigarettes when you're 11, and there's a blueberry bush (optimistically covered in bird netting, in the hope that one or two edible treats might emerge) planted when I was 6 or 7. It's always been a disappointment as a food source, but it's a nice reminder that G'ma and Daddooooo took the time and effort to buy something just for me. It makes me smile
This morning, it feels cozy. The tree is shading the sunshine, which hasn't come over the top of the house yet. The bees are where it's sunnier, and the gnats haven't awoken or hatched or otherwise come to annoy us. The leaves are forest green, just like in my Crayola box. There's a squirrel's nest up higher than Daddooooo's improvised limb trimmer can reach, even from the top of our tallest ladder. And we have quite a few ladders.
The running battle between the sciuridae and my parents over the bird feeders hanging from the lower branches of the tree is an amusing saga, but not that much more amusing than the one you're imagining right now. If it weren't the squirrels they'd find something else about which to complain.... the crows scaring away the smaller birds, perhaps. It doesn't matter. Right now it's just us, sitting on the swing that Daddoooo made all by himself.
We have the NYTimes Magazine section open to the crossword puzzle, and we have a good pen sitting comfortably in our hand. No pencils for us; we are certain when we enter a word or else we write it very lightly. The graphite just doesn't feel right on the paper; the roller ball's ink soaks right in. And we're constructing our perfect Sunday morning, so there ya go. (How did Sarah Palin get in here?)
Puzzle in hand, outside pillow under the small of our back, we wish we'd remembered a snack and poof here it is. Poppy seed bagel with cream cheese, onions and lox, thin sliced Nova Scotia smoked salmon which came home from the appetizing store with us this morning. I've never been sure how the appellation took hold, but there it is. It sold salads and smoked and pickled and creamed fish, chopped liver and blintzes and I can smell it as I type. Maybe these were considered appetizers and somehow the word became conflated with the deliciousness enclosed within and appetizing was born? Inquiring and drooling, I want to know. We treated ourselves to fresh squeezed orange juice, and it's all balanced on the arm rest.
The window shades are still down in G'ma and Daddooooo's bedroom, so there's no danger of being interrupted. The air is thick and lilac scented. There's a butterfly looking for sustenance, and an ant or two examining the edge of our plate and we are happy.
Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right.
Thanks for joining me.