Today has been one of those days...it's supposed to be a day of rest (see my earlier post) but the lawn called to me, "Annie, rev up that lawnmower... NOW!"
So I did.
Then I noticed how the morning glories, though beautiful, have taken over my entire garden, and the creeping jenny, albeit great, green groundcover, is really a weed and it has highjacked most of the yard.
Do I really care? No. But I started yanking weeds anyway and that's when I saw the first one. The first cricket of "cricket season". All sorts of little crickets hopping to and fro...they do that this time of year; that summer's-almost-over-but-fall-ain't-quite-here time of year that brings out not only the crickets but the big, beautiful (and scary looking) garden spiders...
It's the time of year I always think about my friend Kim...if you are reading this, Kim, you know where I am headed.
It was, I think, 1968...Kim and her family had just moved back to our neighborhood, and sixth grade was just getting underway. We were playing outside in the field behind the elementary school where it was crickets galore. And so Kim and I got a box, caught some of the little buggers, and one of them we named Flower...
Ah. The innocence of life back in the sixth grade in Madeira, Ohio.
That following summer -- our sixth-grade summer, as we still to this day reminisce -- was THE best summer of our lives. Kim, Tricia, Helen and I were best buds, and we rode bikes, and slept outside in sleeping bags, and talked about boys (as we were just discovering them), and how the four of us were going to get an apartment together some day...
We'd spend our days just hanging out, sometimes lying on the ground, staring up into the cloudless sky for what seemed like hours..."The sky is so blue," I remember one of us remarking once. It was, indeed, a scene right of Wonder Years.
As it turned out, the four of us never did share an apartment. We all went our separate ways after high school. But for the most part, we have always kept in touch.
We tried re-enacting that blue-sky moment years later -- around 1990 -- after I moved back to Cinci from Iowa. We were in our mid-30s, married...way past the age of catching crickets and naming them. But it felt so good to be back together again. So, putting our harried lives on hold for a moment, we all made our way down to the ground in Tricia's backyard one mid-summer afternoon and gazed up into the sky.
"The sky is so blue!" one us said, and we laughed and laughed.
For a brief moment, we were back in sixth grade again...lighthearted, carefree, awash in the sense that like the big, blue endless sky above, our lives stretched out before us, chock full of possibility and opportunity...
But then it was getting late, and there was supper to fix and diapers to change, and...
I don't think we will ever forget our sixth grade summer. Those rare and precious times we are blessed to be together -- usually class reunions (we LOVE class reunions), we almost always bring up the "blue sky" day, and Kim and I to this day fondly remember Flower, the cricket.
From the vantage point of my "omigod I'm almost 50" summer, life at 12 seemed so simple then. (Somebody stop me before I break into a teary rendition of "The Way We Were! Kleenex! I need a Kleenex!)
Ah. It's all good, really. Even the not-so-simple stuff.
Funny... to this day, I cannot kill a cricket.
So Kim, Tricia, Helen...if you are reading this...Here's to crickets, blue skies, sixth-grade summers, old friends, and life's innocence lost.
And to the rest of you...what are your favorite memories? What brings back, with a rush and a sigh, a heart-enveloping memory? What are your special anniversaries of the heart?
Celebrate them whenever you can.