At dusk, at least a dozen lightning bugs suddenly appear over the grass in the front and back yards.
Summer arrives this Friday. Days will no longer grow longer. There will be even energies on Friday, and beautiful summer into September.
Smithfield, North Carolina. Early 1950’s. Pop and Mama’s front porch and front yard. Late spring, summer, early evening, after supper. We are barefoot, and we wear short pants and t-shirts. Run! Jump–no leap! over the boxwoods growing next to the porch. Land securely, and start running. If you fall forward, push up and run! If you fall down, get up and run! Down to the end of the yard, across the sidewalk, around the crepe myrtle trees next to the street. While running, touch their smooth and white bark. Run! Back across the sidewalk, up the steps to the porch, turn sharp and leap! And noise! Shout–no yell! as you jump. Make noise as you run in the yard, and on the way back to the porch, yell, “Here I come!” Again over the boxwoods, into the yard, down the yard, across the sidewalk, around the crepe myrtle trees, back across the sidewalk, up the walk to the house, up the steps to the porch, sharp turn, leap! Again and again and again. And more. Tired, lie stretched out in the grass and watch the sky change as the sun moves toward setting. Notice your breath and heart slow down to calmness. Adults rock in white wood rockers on the porch, watching the antics. Soon they may bring Jell-O or watermelon, or cold banana pudding.
Wake Forest Magazine, Summer, 2013, features “101 Things We Love About Wake Forest.” In the next weeks I’ll remember and write about several things I loved when I was there, from 1966 to 1970. In this letter, a place I visited daily, the post office.
The post office is still on the quad level of Poteat Dormitory. I recently visited the post office and went by my post office box for four years, the number of which I still remember, though I don’t remember my combination for opening the box. The smell of the post office has not changed, and I remember looking forward to checking the mail to find a letter from Mom and Dad, a letter or card from Aunt Agnes or Cousin Peggy, an note from a high school classmate at another school, a card to take to the desk to receive a package. My freshman year, I received a post card from the physical education department, “Your class ring is in the P.E. office.” (I had lost it in the locker room, and someone had taken the time to go to the student directory to find me, from the initials engraved on the ring.) My senior year, I received an unsolicited Master Card from Wachovia Bank as a congratulations for graduation. Sometimes I read the mail on the benches outside the post office under young dogwood tress or from a bench further down the quad and stayed and watched the sunset. There were some fine sunsets to be seen from the quad. The post office was a place for meeting other students and professors coming to check their mail and to have greetings and short visits.
What I’m reading: Fiction, The Last Refrain by John Abbott (2013) Nonfiction, Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James by David Downie (2013). I’ll write about both books next blog.
Here’s how I’m playing in summer, three waltzes: Peter Tchaikovsky, Waltz in E-Flat Major, Op. 29, No. 8 (Think ballet); Edvard Grieg, Waltz in a minor, Op. 12, No. 2 (Think folk dance); Scott Joplin, Bethena (A concert waltz, 1905) (Think rag-time).
As I was preparing from my adult Sunday School class, I came across two provocative passages. Read in context, they stand out as significant ideas. Those ideas are self-evident out of context, ideas about work, blessings, sin, evil. Read Genesis 4:6,7 and Genesis 8:21, if you’d like.
I will not post a blog next week. It’s time for a blog vacation. I’ll continue weekly postings on Wednesday, July 3.
Thank you for reading. I hope your time between now and July 3 will be good.