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Tag Archives: summer

Running Barefoot in the Stone Circle

I spent the majority of every summer barefoot, running through my grandparents’ yard in Clyde, Ohio, though the ditch and past the row of pine trees, underneath the front porch and back behind the barn that left white marks on our fingertips as we ran our ringers along its wind-battered sides.  I loved the way the grass felt underfoot, soft and green after a quick morning rain or crisp and sharp as our parents’ voices when a drought threatened.

There’s something to be said about walking over the earth barefoot, through grass and dirt, mud and gravel, but nothing felt so wonderful as the warm stone circle in the back corner of the yard I roamed over.  I knew every inch of my grandparents’ property, around the house where the pricker bushes pushed us at least three feet away from the farthest outreaching branch to avoid the ever-frightening situation of our feet up in Grandma’s lap and needles and tweezers poking through the skin that withstood so much.  I knew where the sharpest rocks were in the stone driveway, towards the edges where hardly any cars were driven, and where the gravel was crushed so much that it felt like powdered sugar between my toes.  After the white blossoms fell from the cigar tree, my cousins and I would pile them up and imagine that we were running through sweet-smelling clouds as petals got caught between our toes in a euphoric and angelic sight and finally we would collapse in them for the sheer enjoyment of sinking into the whole cycle of things.  But of all of the places I felt on the bottoms of my feet, the stone circle was still my favorite.

It was only about four feet across in any and every direction, although I never bothered to measure it.  I assume it was made of concrete, but nothing like the concrete that paved our sidewalks at home or covered the bottom parts of the walls in our classrooms.  It was dark and mottled, littered with colonies of insects and each crack was the home to some new and interesting plant that sprouted a multitude of colors.  It wasn’t a perfect circle, straight on some edges and cracked and crumbling on others, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  The sweet summer sweat on dirty skin, the smell of cut grass and thunderstorm, the gold foil sun high in the sky never felt better than it did from the stone circle that sat tilted in the back corner of my grandparents’ yard.

Summer is sacred to children, sacred in a way that adolescents dismiss and adults have lost complete sight of.  In the early mornings, when the grass is still wet and cool and the air was thick with moisture and mischief, before the rest of my cousins arrived, I wander outside to watch the sun reflect off of the roads.  I love the way it gathers in shimmery pools where the road dips and disappears and fills with water, but always drains before I  can reach it, before I can baptize myself in the sun water.  The roads and their images are fleeting, but my stone circle always remains.

I felt most content there by myself, when I could enjoy everything that encompassed me, in me and outside of me, through me and beneath and above me.  The warmth from the sun was somehow captured in the small circle I lay in, climbing up through my clothes and onto the small of my back, my hip, each shoulder and arm.  It was almost intimate, trying to push as much of my body against the stone at one time-starting with the souls of my feet.  Most of the time I imagined the circle conforming to my body, curving to fit the curves I barely had as a child, trying to sink into the stone, to disappear and to be seen.  But most of all, to feel.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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The Track that Action Built

60 degrees outside.

The first time warm weather emerges from the winter like the fiery red snout of a fox from a briar patch, I think of the racetrack.


Every Saturday night during the summer of 2004, I climbed into a bright blue dune buggy, slid my glasses down off my head, and headed to Fremont Speedway.  We always parked at the bottom of the hill, climbed up so that the dust swirled around the bottom of our pants, so we looked like we belonged.  Among the sea of neon t-shirts and torn jeans, we walked.  The pits were buzzing with jumpsuits and sprint wings, and the people from Tennessee put lawn chairs atop their trailers and watched from the sky.

Moths danced through the path of the stadium lights, racing one another to the brightest spot in Fremont.  The sun always set right behind turn 3, opposite the Grandstand where we sat, bathed in an orange afterglow.

The National Anthem sung high and proud to the flag waving in the dust from practice runs sent chills down my spine.

The push trucks, driven by friends and relatives, pushed each sprint car until it snarled to life on the dirt track.

3… And once everyone was lined up,

2…the crowd on their feet,

1…and the town roared with the wave of a green flag.

I cannot wait to go back.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Daily Happenings

 

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Camp Lackawanna Grow Up

I never went to summer camp, but lately, I’m regretting that decision.  I did go to Camp Storer for a week in sixth grade.  I wasn’t ready for it.  I cried almost every night.  I cried when this douchebag counselor named Dirk reenacted the Underground Railroad way too realistically.  I quit halfway up the climbing wall.  I did like the cabin, though, and the ghost stories, and the night there was a tornado warning. I liked knowing there was a cabin of BOYS just across the field.  I dunno…just didn’t wanna be there in sixth grade.

But now I wish I woulda pulled summer camp duty.  As an adult, nothing seems as though it’s off limits.  If you’re old enough to pay, you’re old enough to do it.  I pay taxes, loans, bills…therefore, I can drink, live alone, have wine for dinner, pick the color of my curtains…  Whatever happened to someone telling me I can’t?

Because you all can agree with this:  When someone tells you that you can’t, it’s so much more fun when you get away with it.

So I propose to you, my friends and bloggies, that we begin a summer camp–FOR ADULTS.

We shall call it Camp Lackawanna Grow Up, and it will be in the hills.  We’ll have to earn our alcohol by winning competitions and races to the mess hall, and or we’ll have to sneak it in.  This is where the flasks engraved with “Shameless” that Jenny and I bought for each other will come in handy–whiskey and wine, baby.

There will be bonfires at least three times a week, and an endless supply of marshmallows for s’mores.  There will be ghost stories, and cuddling by the campfire.

NO co-ed cabins.  If you’re going to sneak a boy into your cabin, well you’d better get permission from your other bunk mates, and make them vow to never rat you out.  And then you have to keep the giggles under control when said man begins to snore and you have to pretend it’s you.

There will be canoeing, dancing in the moonlit summer rainstorms, music, food fights, skinny dipping in the lake, softball, catch, and awkward tan lines.  Hitchhiking into town, quiet whispers of scheming girls to attack the boys’ cabin.

GAH.  I missed out.  What do you say, friends?  We can’t do it for a whole summer, because we have jobs (we hope).  But we can do it for a long weekend.  Who wants to go camping this summer?  In East Harbor, or Mohican?  In PA?  WHO IS COMING WITH ME?!?!?

RSVP in comments.  Because I’m serious.  This thing is happening.  If I get a big enough response, I’ll set this thing up for summer time, and we can meet up, eat s’mores, and sleep in tents.  Yes?

Great, I’ll see you there.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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