July 8, 2012


A report from the summerland. My shins are scratched and bruised and stung and my soles are hard as pine. I am burnt and bleached, all salt-cured skin. I find I think of myself as a summer critter. It is very July now, with scorching hot days and air you can see. A family anchors their sailboat offshore, and under the boom boom of far-off fireworks we float out to it on dark water. Revolutionary War re-enactors camp at the Civic Center, wool-clothed in 100 degrees, and I wonder whether they snuck into air conditioning overnight, or sweated in their side-by-side cloth barracks. I have a party, and neighbors arrive by kayak to eat sweet and sour grilled chicken and crookneck squash from the overflowing garden. The fireflies are thinning now, replaced by the daytime static of cicadas and horseflies. Somehow the flies get in the house and I hunt them, swatting at AC-cool air. I bike to the next point with a chocolate pie in one hand and a cooler of beers under my shoulder. Envoy, a band made up of four nineteen year olds, play live on the porch as people dance beneath sparklers and morning glories and a boy who looks like a centaur fishes croaker in the shallows beyond. A Good-Natured Riot rocks bluegrass in the corner at Southwind while I pour sweating Ranger after Brown after Wolaver Wheat and the banjo player is stony-faced-cool as his metal-tipped fingers fly. I buy an antique glass lamp at Holly Hill and rewire it as old paint flakes. Wild thunderstorms tear branches from the maples and blow the tomato cages over, scattering half-ripe fruit. Friends gather on the porch to watch the lightning. We paddle after dolphins at sunset, following them up the Haven as their backs break orange water, too fast to catch. The nettles are coming, and blackberries burst on the vines. 

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