by Andrea Savee
Like many people, I spent much of my childhood playing outdoors and my adulthood working indoors. As a kid, I lived close to the ground–on sidewalks, dirt lots, and green lawns–skipping, cart-wheeling, and hop-scotching my way through the seasons toward summer.
Once there, I wanted to stay forever: climbing trees and hanging across their broad branches until the sun-heated sidewalk looked like the place to sprawl or the cool green lawn the spot to stretch out on our bellies in search of lady bugs and buttercups; bare foot on balmy nights; licking crèamsicles, playing softball, riding bikes; visiting Aunt Ramona Mae and Uncle Delbert’s Iowa hog farm.
The delicate and lively watercolor wash of spring didn’t stand a chance against the thick oily spread of summer in capturing and holding my attention. I took the full but subtle splendor of that sophisticated season for granted in the innocent way children can.
I continued to do so as an adult. In fact, for twenty some-odd years, I watched all the changing seasons through the windows of my coffee houses and celebrated them only commercially: Spring/ Easter; Summer/Independence Day; Fall/ Thanksgiving; Winter/Christmas. These were the years for production and acquisition; I didn’t mind what I was missing.
Career building behind us, my husband and I are now less doers than observers. No longer tethered to time schedules, we’re rediscovering the childhood freedom of unfettered days. We’re settling down and sinking into our patio chairs, regarding the world around us instead of being distracted from it. As such, this spring, my 51st, has been a months-long meditation on that heretofore under-appreciated season.
We’re in the robust years of retirement–we still have our original hips–and could be RV-ing. Instead, we’re journeying to our back patio for morning coffee and our front porch for evening cocktails. We spend much of a typical spring day in two green plastic chairs that we shimmy around the lawn in search of shade when we’re too warm and sun when we’re too cool. From these mobile virtual desks, we sort mail, chat on the phone, and visit with neighbors.
In between, I take Mary Oliver’s counsel and “keep my mind on what matters…which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished:” by the wind through the Golden Rain trees thick with shimmering leaves, kids laughing, and kitchen dishes clinking; the aroma of onions frying, burgers barbecuing, and freshly mown grass; Red Trumpet Vine and budding agapanthus standing ready to announce summer’s arrival; stately Chrysler Imperial roses and erupting Birds of Paradise; purple Sweet Peas, pink Mophead hydrangeas, and yellow irises; lavender and amaryllis; grasshoppers and mud wasps; and a second brood of Phoebes nesting in the eaves.
I cross the half century mark enriched by the company of my old new friend–spring–and reminded of the paraphrased wisdom of George Santayana: to be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with summer.
Andrea Savee lives in Lakewood, California with her husband, Mike, and their cat, Chico. Retired from a career in business, Andrea enjoys traveling and writing. Her work has appeared in SCN journals and anthologies.