Category Archives: Summer

My Summer Kitchen

My kitchen is a mess in the summer. Always. The floor has bits of dried leaves and things that all three of us (husband, dog, me) track in from the garden, the countertop always has some dirt-filled things, like garlic drying or onions. Right now there is a bowl of raspberries left over from breakfast, to be snacked on until they’re gone (before lunch).  Soon, I hope, the perpetual bowl of tomatoes will be there.

We live as much outside as inside during the summer, and while my winter kitchen is spotless and everything is in its place, the summer kitchen tends to be a riot of seeds,  plants, and rooting cuttings, compost for the worm bin and on and on and on.  Sometimes it bugs me, and I get busy, cleaning, cleaning, but the next day it’s back to its normal summer state. And I guess I’m growing to love it.

When the tomatoes are over, the pickles are in the pantry, the rest of the produce in the freezer, my kitchen will again be clean and ready for the winter. And then I’ll miss the chaos, and I’ll miss my summer kitchen.

Meanwhile, I’m kind of enjoying the mess.

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Filed under Gardening, Summer

What a summer

I’ve been a practicum student at Serenity Lane this summer, a drug and alcohol treatment facility in town, working with the chaplain as she ministers to the spirits of the patients. What an education that has been! Yikes. I see myself in so many of them — their eyes, their stories, their fears, their shame. I identify and empathize, and yet I know the other side of that misery as well. If only they will stick with it, if only they could glimpse what I know to be true about a clean and sober life…

If only that insecure but talented writer could keep the faith and keep putting the butt in the chair and keep pumping out the words. If only they could glimpse what I know about successes as a writer…

If only that young married couple could stick it out, reach deep and find the reasons they were attracted to each other in the beginning, and rekindle that respect for each other. If only they could glimpse what I know about the sublime pleasure in a long satisfying marriage…

These are the pleasures of age.

I am one of the extraordinarily fortunate ones, and I am grateful every second of every minute. The question now is how to share the knowledge in a meaningful way. Other than walking the talk–which I try to do, and accomplish with varying levels of success–that is the current quest.

But more will be revealed, if I suit up and show up, and that’s what I’m doing.

What a summer.

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Filed under Aging, family, Joy, Marriage, Spirituality, Summer, Writing, years

Summer’s end

It’s too cold to go barefoot these days.  I’ve been pulling long-sleeved blouses and light sweaters from the “winter clothes” closet and know that soon I’ll be switching over, putting the summer clothes away for the season. Except for some cherry tomatoes, two cabbages, one lone cucumber still on its trellis and the fall raspberries, the garden is over.  It’s been a good one this year. I’ll put the pumpkin on the front porch for Halloween before I make a pie out of it.

I love winter in the Pacific Northwest. I love the rain, the cold, the bare trees, the fog, the onslaught of gardening catalogs.

Normally, I look forward to each turn of season. I love spring–of course, doesn’t everyone? But for some reason, this year I’m reluctant to put summer away in its closet. This year I’m feeling a little melancholy, as if I didn’t partake of summer enough. Instead of thinking of all the fun things I did, I seem to be dwelling on the things I didn’t have time to do.

Hmmm. Change that to “things I didn’t take the time to do.”

My life was as full–to overflowing, as always–this summer as it always is. I didn’t bike enough. I didn’t hike enough. I didn’t fish enough, and though I did all of those things, as I get older, time compresses, and I can see that I should have done more of them, because I love doing those things.

I did other things that I love, though, and more of them. I spent a lot of time in the garden, and it was glorious. I raised chickens and got a dog. I wrote a lot, sold a book, some essays and some short stories, taught a few classes, finished a degree, spent quality time with cherished friends and family.

In all, I did life well this summer.

But did I do summer?

I see that I could have done summer better. So now that fall is upon us, I vow to do fall very well, and winter after that. And next summer, if I’m fortunate enough to be on the right side of the dirt when it shows up, I’ll do it very well indeed.

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Filed under Summer, time