It’s Summer

It’s summer at last – the birds are singing; the sun is shining.

It’s five in the morning – why are those goddamn birds singing, and could the sun please stop shining?

It’s summer and I’m remembering a few years back, when everyone was reading that stupid Fifty Shades Of Grey book. Isn’t it great, I think, that civilization has progressed to where we can all say “remember when everyone was reading that book?” and it’s all in the past.

“Hey, have you got that new Grey book?” a guy in painting overalls says breathlessly the second the bookstore door opens in the morning. “This one’s told from the guy’s perspective – I got to get it for my wife!’

It’s summer and I can sleep if I have the curtain cracked to let some air in but not so much that the blinds clack against the other window frame. I have moments where I think “at least in winter sleeping is easy”.

There’s a magical point where the lawn mower is working, the strimmer string isn’t tangled or completely gone and if I could just finish mowing the backyard, there might be a day or two where the front yard doesn’t look like a jungle and the whole cycle starts again.

It’s summer and the local drive-in is showing Harold and Maude and serving popcorn with real butter. We’re living in paradise.

It’s summer and if we drive an hour and a half we can see The Turtles, The Cowsills and The Association. I want to.

It’s summer and if we drive an hour and a half in the other direction we can see Van Gogh landscapes never before seen in America. I want to do that too.

Yoga man is back. I knew he was coming (saw the poster), thought of all kinds of things I could say to him about his no tipping ways but when he finally showed up in the bar and ordered a beer, I greeted him warmly. I almost felt happy to see him. It felt like a time-honored tradition, me serving him, him stiffing me on the tip. It’s summer, so he’s cut off his ponytail.

It’s summer, and I keep thinking that one of these years I will buy that perfect straw hat/pair of sandals/effortless dress but for now I’ll just wear what I’ve got.

I’m thankful there are less and less instances where I have to explain to someone behind a counter what iced coffee is. I’m thankful the whole world has learned how to make cold brew iced coffee like I used to find at only one place PJ’s in Louisiana.

Both Commander Cody and Artemis Pyle (of Lynyrd Skynyrd) are playing for free in the tiny town just up the Hudson from us, I think this is an improvement over the Beatles tribute bands they usually have – I will let you know.

For Eric’s birthday, I got him tickets to see David Crosby next week. Since we’re married, I think it’s a legal and moral requirement that I get to go with him. In preparation for going to see David Crosby, I was playing CSN in the bar. “I was there at Woodstock,” a customer says. “Me and a few of my buddies went. Couldn’t see or hear a thing!” I smile and nod. He continues: “I know you’re probably thinking ‘this guy’s too young to have been there!'” I’m actually thinking how I was just thinking ‘what’s this old guy’s story?’ I smile and nod.

It’s summer and there’s a real estate broker in a loud gingham shirt and shorts next to me at the Catskill Mill food truck picnic table. He’s telling a couple from the city how they should really consider buying a bigger place than they need ‘for the Airbnb possibilities’. When they ask him what days the food truck is open, he confidently tells them “Thursday through Sunday!” The days are listed right there on the side of the truck Wed through Sat. ‘And yet you trust this guy with your future,’ I think.

It’s summer and I want to make an album, write a different book from the one I’ve been working on, paint a masterpiece or at least fill a sketchbook with watercolors. But there’s a hammock over there.

boating on the hudson

7 thoughts on “It’s Summer

  1. cellsumfrost

    What a tragedy. You may just be forced to use this amazing piece as something to build a collection around. You can even sell it at your own bookstore. Tant pis. (As they say in France : )

  2. cellsumfrost

    PS; Don’t forget the picture. It could also be a postcard. It’s already better than whatever came with Exile On Main St.

  3. Steve Gibson

    Another beguiling while spent with you and your thoughts. As usual you had me at “Hello.” Actually, in this case, it was the bit about the birds. But you just mentioned them briefly and then moved on. I can’t, though I dearly wish I could.

    You see, I have been having a bit of a ruckus lately in this area. I’ve been terrorized by a mockingbird for almost two months now. (If i’d known this was going to occupy so much of my time and mind, I would have noted the exact date it started.) Now, I love mockingbirds – or used to – and have had tons of fun trying to teach them the wolf whistle as I bike by. But it’s different when one moves in, building a next in the top of a tree about ten meters from my window, and holds forth for hours on end in a voice that can be heard over a block away. And it’s even worse when he starts up around 12:30 every night and keeps going non-stop.

    I’ve learned there is nothing I can do, that he is looking for a mate, and will continue till he does, I don’t know what kind of feathered floozy he is trying to attract at that hour, when all the nice birds are snuggled in for the night. He is persistent, insistent, and consistent, even in the occasional rain we get. Earplugs don’t completely stop it, even with soft music at the same time.

    The only thing that does work is throwing some stones into the tree. It distracts him, and perhaps also makes him switch instincts from mating to survival – that is, instead of broadcasting his location, hiding it. He will start up again, in a little while, sometimes more softly. But if I do this when I am just about tired enough to go to sleep, I will be able to doze off before he resumes his calling. It’s not much of a solution, but it will have to do for now. I may be stuck with it for a few more months.

    I know that there’s a book whose title offers a permanent solution. That is taken from a chat between Scout and a neighbor, who tells her, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Well, I daresay Miss Maudie didn’t have one nestled in close by her window. I don’t really want to kill a mockingbird, I just want to get him to shut up. At night. Please. Thank you.

    Have a great summer!

  4. Steve Gibson

    Epilogue: A week or two after this the fever broke, the valve turned, the record skipped – suddenly, silence. Blessed silence., However, whenever, for whatever reason the change occurred, it did. Not only did the music stop, but the bird seems to have moved on. I haven’t seen nor heard a peep. It’s been great.

    I know it’s paradoxical to want silence from something universally consider a source of sweet music. But as the wise man once said, “Too much of a good thing does more harm than good.” I’ll bet that even if your next door neighbor were Laura Nyro or Sarah McLachlan, there would be times you’d want to bang on the wall and tell her to knock it off.

    Finally, peace in my time. Until next time. I may have to borrow a ladder, go up in the tree, and remove the nest so another mockingbird doesn’t move in next year.

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