Right now, I’m in love with summer.
I know the dog days of the season will soon be here. Bugs will proliferate. The sky will go flat. The horizon will be lost in brown haze. The heat will get heavier than the air.
But now? It feels like good summer.
It’s not like it hasn’t been hot. 80 degrees by 10:00 a.m.? Yikes. But the air stays bright and light despite how high the mercury climbs. The early morning clouds temper the heat to come; they tease expectations that today, things will be different.
I’m seeing more summer dresses than wrinkled tees and rumpled shorts. Men’s shirts seem to survive an outing without wilting. Hats are more accessory than necessity.
Some flowers have faded. The bachelors buttons have become upright bunches of pom-pom-headed straw. The sticky, purple jacaranda flowers have begun to carpet the ground and the car and the sidewalks and the bottoms of my shoes. For a brief time every summer, my barren yard feigns a riotous garden thanks to the fallen blooms and the is dotted with blue as he surveys the slopes for squirrels and other trespassing critters.
Yet, there are still so many flowers that haven’t yet been flattened by the heat. The pink moon flowers in my neighbor’s yard open early in the morning sun. Aloe reaches flame-colored spikes in the air. Late poppies dot a garden with orange. Down near the Southwest Museum metro stop, hollyhocks and sunflowers race each other towards the light.
It’s cool enough to walk in the morning. Frontenac still feels like a country road--albeit a country road crowded with canines. Compared to June, there seems to be about a hundred more pooches parading past my front door. I wonder where they’ve been; perhaps doggie treadmills have been whirring all over the hill, all winter long.
This year’s love affair with summer started on the 4th of July. In the past, I’ve been to Independence Day block parties and barbecues, camp-outs and cook-offs. My friend Debbie from the old Mount Washington Babysitting Co-op sent out an invitation to a party featuring a whole roast pig. But, I had a couple of young family members in town and so we opted for fireworks at Dodger Stadium.
It was my first Fourth of July with the Dodgers. Watching the crowds pour on to the field was a show in itself. The fireworks were grand, especially the white ones that squiggled across the sky and exploded into a shower of stars. From our seats high above home plate, we could see five other fireworks celebrations arcing over the rim of Chavez Ravine like a chorus line of pyrotechnics behind the main event.
Back at home, we sat on our balcony and watched fireworks displays across the city. I can see the regular season fireworks sparking up between the palm trees on the ridge of Dodger Stadium but this year, I saw more fireworks than I've ever seen--too many to count from Highland Park to the sea. I kept thinking of the skyline in Blade Runner with fire spouting up between the flying vehicles. The movie may be a dystopian vision of the future but watching the fireworks bursting in air across the City of Angels made me love this city – and my home in her greenest aerie – even more.
The haze of spent fireworks mixed with sunlight and mist the next morning but the air was cool and the trees were green.
Hello, good summer.