So, What're You Doing This Summer?


Rattle & Pen is a biweekly column exploring the liminal space between raising children and creating art.

Image courtesy of the U.S. National Archives

So, what’re you doing this summer?

We’re sinking into our summer rhythm again:

Coffee-with-cream on the patio in the weak morning sun—and

All afternoon on a beach while the kids dig holes in the sand—and

Fever-scorch of sunburned knees and shoulders

(followed by aloe sting in the breeze of an oscillating fan)—and

Inflatable pools, cartwheels, backyard grass prickle under wobbly handstands.

Do you hear that voluptuous thwack-thwack-thwack? Sprinkler-head turning

back and back and back on a slow afternoon.

Here’s a cold-beer. You want? Nightly reenactment of my grandparents’ cocktail hour, and—

Hours spent slack, relaxed in the comfortable slouch of an Adirondack chair, book in my hand.

Yes, please, my January self begged, and now it’s here—Finally!

This needed sweat and rest. Your new freckles and my mosquito bites.

Let’s keep our windows open tonight. I love that smell of warm, dark air. Right?

Swim of my memories—childhood delight at freedom, at staying up too late, at even the adults laughing.

Remember that? Yes. Yes. Yes. Kiss of campfire smoke on the soft crown of my daughter’s head. Popsicle ring around my son’s smile. And me, meanwhile, indulging: real pen against real paper.

Late light and night-gazing. Stars and moon. Stars in the backyard maple tree. Stars in the wild rose’s muddy-red blooms. Stars just there—the kids look up:

Yes, see? See them? One, two, three. The queen on her throne. The pot and its handle. There! There! There! Over our roof, you guys! It’s summer!

About Kirsten