May 29, 2011

And The Livin' Is Easy

This is what summer is.

Barbecue brisket sandwiches with cole slaw and sweet corn, dripping on white china plates as we sit on the indoor porch, a wall of screens the only thing between us and the sun setting over Milford Haven, and the first summer mosquitoes. We eat them at the long kitchen counter the next day, washing back the settling flavor of the meat with long draughts of beer from the outdoor fridge. We bike to the beach at Tin Can Alley with full bellies and swim to the sand bar in the sun-warming water, and the Chesapeake smells of oysters.

Jam night at Southwind pizza. A circle of men sit atop stools playing songs they've played before, many times, some bedecked with new mustaches. The drummer turns forty, looking all of thirty-five, and everyone hollers and raises a pint. We eat fried crab bites, a stringy, delicious pot of artichoke dip, and petite pizzas with perfectly crunchy bottom crusts. People dance in the back of the bar, and it is the kind of loud born of people who not only know each other, but are happy to. Everyone sings the choruses, and the waitress pouring off pint after pint of Legend Brown Ale grins as people congratulate her twenty-four-hour-old wedding, and she is beautiful in her happiness.

Campground house party. The campground, empty and desolate all winter, fills with pick-up trucks and trailers and golf carts. Boys throw lines into the bay off the high-deck and old-timers park their carts side by side on the sand and gravel road, chatting over steering wheels as in the tent grove, country blasts and men whoop from the bumpers of their truck beds. Teenagers gather on the beach and smoke cigarettes and slurp at stolen beers, eyeing me suspiciously as I whip by on my bicycle, still wet from my dip in the water. A man yells at me: Slow on down, girl!

Billie Holiday and asparagus hash on the new creek-side deck. I poach eggs, smooth and white as pillows, to slice atop a hash of asparagus, bacon, and potatoes. We watch the sun slide down below the trees on the point and don't say much at all.

Jumping off the dock in the last light of the day. The dock is alight with rarely used lights, and from the water they look like strung lanterns dangling between the salt-beaten pylons. A small boat trawls for flounder in the shallows in front of the house, and I leap off the end of the dock, carefully tucking my feet up under me so I won't touch the bottom of Barn Creek, its mud as soft as pudding. I float around on my back and watch as the first summer fireflies draw blinking trails across the marsh and over the lawn. My gin and tonic sweats on the dock's sink, where brackish water pumped from the Haven powers a hose used to clean blue crabs, or spot, or trout, if we're lucky. A neighbor sets off high, illegal fireworks, and the water is lit red and white and gold and the forested shore rings with the pop and crackle. I cheer aloud, toes grazing the creek bottom.


  1. I might have to pursue a career with summers off just so I can come to Virginia every year.

  2. Your writing is beautiful and subtle and makes me smile.

  3. I miss you and Homagin.

  4. This is beautiful & you make me love where I live even more.