26 July 2014

Breathing It In

The magnificence of the season’s greenery encircles me and I drink it in like one preparing to embark on a trek across a barren wasteland. Such is my mindset living here in Maine.

Summertime is lush, sweet, fragrant, colorful, pleasant. Birds chitter, waves crash, blooming flowers reach heavenward, and the underbrush hums with life. Squealing children, lathered in coconut scented sunscreen, skip, dance, chase, laugh, and frolic on beaches, in parks, and at lakeside piers. Squirrels scurry and chipmunks worry over stockpiling enough sustenance for the distant winter.

It still seems far away in late July.

The people too, prepare in their own ways. We stack firewood, save our dollars to fill oil tanks, buy coats and flannel sheets on sale. Savoring the colors, scents, and sounds, we must also must work, toil, live. Long days and open windows delight us, but with a tiny shred of panic hidden deep in our souls.

In June, we are free, drinking deep of the summer, flinging off the shackles of boots and gloves in exchange for flip flops and smiles. In July, we wave our flags and fill the beaches and lakes with our glee. And then in mid-to-late July, when August waits nearby and schools supplies edge in on store shelves and the days grow infinitesimally shorter, we feel it – that frantic need to guzzle rather than sip.

“Summer is half over,” we exclaim as tomatoes grow large and lilies begin to fade ever so slightly. “Must go to the beach again this week, not many more opportunities.” “School is just around the corner.” “Let’s have dinner out on the porch again tonight.”

So I drink; often and hungrily. Not only the fruity sangrias and icy margaritas of this warm season, but rather, the time. The beauty. The peace. If it is possible to desperately take hold of the joy that is our fleeting Maine summer, I do.

As chipmunks search and hummingbirds dart, an hour in a lawn chair soothes. Breathing it in for a few moments each day hydrates my soul enough to – hopefully – keep it alive during the long trek through an unavoidable desert of wintertime.

Copyright © 2014 - Paulla Estes

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