Summer shouts at me through the squeals and laughter of the neighborhood children;
Its scent is Barbacoa de Cordero slowing cooking in the neighbor’s backyard
It passes by on wispy clouds riding rapids through cornflower skies;
I run my fingers through summer’s mane of apple green and fragrant grass
I kiss summer in the ripe, juicy nectarines from my straining tree.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake.
Someone has stolen two-thirds of the nectarines from my tree. The ones closest to the house and up high are still there – the rest are but a juicy longing teasingly left on the tip on my tongue.
The nectarine tree in the yard is pregnant with fruit. The firm, juicy orbs are just days away from their peak ripeness. I’m envisioning the warm crisps and flaky pies I’ll soon be making. The heavy clusters of fruit have already broken a large branch. I should have culled them in March, but I missed the chance and always feel guilty not giving each one the chance to ripen. A few sun-soaked fruit on the East side of the tree are already ripe. I had a fresh bowl of slices sprinkled with key-lime juice this afternoon. For my late night snack, I’ve concocted a ham and nectarine sandwich with tangy mayo, gruyere cheese and a bit of peppery arugula. Summer has arrived.
The neighborhood late-morning sounds finally wake me. It’s the first Saturday of Summer – and already 110 degrees outside. My bedroom is filled with white noise, reminding me to be thankful for the portable floor fan that has been keeping the heat at bay – blowing cool air across me throughout the night. I pull open my bedroom door to see my cat stretched out long, nose to tail, on the cool, wood floor. His head slightly rises as he lets out a murmured meow asking me, “why is it so damn hot?” I lightly scratch his head and feel guilt for our lack of air conditioning.
Sitting at the kitchen table, coffee cup between my hands, I contemplate my day. I could sit here all day – doors, windows, drapes and blinds pulled shut from the heat, but I know that by 5 or 6 ‘o’clock the setting sun will be pushing hard against the back windows, turning my little house into an oven. I could drive to the beach, with the thousands of others who have similar thoughts, and position my beach chair a foot or so from the family of twelve. This isn’t really getting away from the heat, but embracing it, honoring it, using it in my favor (if I am properly lubricated with sunscreen). This idea seems like too much work – find my bikini, towel, chair and sunhat, pack lunch, iPod, sunscreen and beach read, and I can’t forget to shave my legs. The heat has stolen my energy for this. Still undecided, I push my chair back and make my way to the bathroom for a long, cool shower.