Summer is an orange creamsicle eaten in the backyard, melting onto my fingers before I can scrape the last bit of vanilla off the stick with my teeth.

Summer is a heavy storm that drops in out of nowhere and sizzles down onto hot pavement; summer is the clean, cool air that’s been washed by the rain.

Summer is a hot car, a cold drink, a sniff of the armpits and a hand wiped across the brow.

In the summer I can sit in the backyard until the late sun sets, casting the low clouds into smudges of cool ash. It never really goes dark, the black silhouettes of the trees standing against even a midnight sky.

Summer is the rumble of power tools, the staccato bursts and lone booms of distant fireworks, the barreling concussions of thunder. 

We play bocce on the side of the house in summer, and drink sodas on the patio. We buy more fresh fruit and eat most of it before it rots. We keep the doors closed, and let the air-conditioning siphon the day’s heat away from our bodies.

Summer is the season for the sunflowers in my yard, gestating through the cold April soil, growing slowly, meek and shy. It will be a month before they open their faces and start to smile.

Summer is long, an ocean of time, but really more like a lake as you make out the distant shore, the time growing shorter and shorter until summer is a melting ice cube, just trying to hang on.

Summer is working while everyone is out of town. Summer is wondering if the kids are bored out of their minds yet. Summer is getting stuff on the calendar before the days run out.

Summer is stress at a low boil. Summer is running low on charcoal. Summer is coming up short. 

And yet….

Summer is a fully ripened peach. Summer is a random spray from the hose. It’s lightning bugs and fresh-cut grass, and it’s those sunflowers in the yard, waiting until the last, dwindling days to bloom.

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