Summer is looming and North Dakotans everywhere are tuning up their tillers and mowers, digging out lawn chairs, filling coolers, firing up grills, fixing fences, plotting out garden space, cutting up watermelon and making plans to take advantage of our favorite season as we monitor the growth of green grass and the buds on the trees…
Yes, summer is coming and summer is short. We all know it. We know only have three whole sunshiny months to cram in as many sunshiny activities as possible. It’s a frantic thought, but a fun frantic thought, one that includes fishing, lake swimming, fireworks, deck sitting, margaritas, fresh garden tomatoes and getting some chores done while working on our tans.
And I know I’m not the only one who has a summer list floating around in my head, one that has been discussed all winter as a sort of spirit lifting promise to myself:
“This summer we’ll work on getting the boat fixed.”
“This summer I’ll wear that dress.”
“This summer I’ll be in shape. Like Jillian Michaels shape. Might even start on that marathon thing I’ve been talking about. What? I haven’t mentioned the marathon?”
“This summer I’m planting pumpkins.”
“This summer I think I’ll get a few pigs. Yeah. No big deal. Bacon. You like bacon right? Yeah. I think I’ll raise some bacon this summer.”
“This summer we’ll get the deck built and the garage up and the fences fixed and the barn redone and the old garage tore down and the junk pile cleaned up…”
Wait…that’s not where I wanted this to go.
No. No. North Dakotans get the month of May to do the dreaming, and that’s really my point here. We get May to make plans. And while the leaves on the trees work on budding, the wildflowers make their way out of the dirt, the sun works on warming the horses’ backs and the wind takes away their wooly coats we buy brats to cook on the grill, grab a beer, pull our short shorts out of the back of the closet and blind the world with our pale legs while we say “gosh, it’s so nice out. It’s so beautiful. Summer’s coming, I mean, look at that, it’s already 55 degrees!”
And we sit like that, in a sort of beer and sun induced summer illusion where woodticks don’t exist, and neither does that fencing project, every day is 70 + degrees, we don’t have a tiling project and we have all the time in the world to plan our fishing trip.
And refine our summer list.
So here’s mine:
1) Wear colors. Every color. On my toenails. On my fingernails. Around my neck. On my head. Enough with the black. It’s summer. Wear orange or something.
2) And while I’m at it I’m gonna wear my swimming suit, my whole collection accumulated over years of the sort of wishful thinking you experience while sitting on the couch with a bag of chips in the middle of a blizzard thumbing through the Victoria’s Secret catalog . Because really, I don’t get to wear them too often, you know, with all the snow and that whole delusional thing. But screw it, I think I’ll wear the shit out of them this summer: while I’m digging in the garden, chasing cows, searching for wildflowers, feeding those pigs, cutting up limes for my margarita and reading my magazines on the deck…shit…
3) We’ve got to build that deck.
But once that deck is built, I have plans to:
4) Make dinner a picnic. If the sun is shining and the wind isn’t threatening to blow away my burgers, I am going to eat my meals outside under the big blue sky.
Because everyone knows food tastes better this way. And so do margaritas.
5) Did I mention margaritas? Yeah. Margaritas.
6) Oh, and we have kayaks. Remember? They’re just sitting in that old garage we need to tear down. This summer I’m using those kayaks. I don’t care if it’s on the dam outside our house, I’m kayaking. I am.
7) But if I happen to make it to a lake with that kayak, I am not wading in like a wussy. I am going to jump in with enthusiasm, screaming at the top of my lungs. This summer I will do this every time I’m given the chance.
8) I will also keep a fresh bouquet of wildflowers on my table at all times. Currently in season: The crocus
9) And I will sleep with my bedroom windows open so I can fall asleep to the croaking of the frogs
10) And I will sweat. It will be hot and I will sweat and I won’t apologize for it. Because sweating is better than freezing. At least if you ask me. Little Sister might disagree.
So yes, I will welcome the sweat as I’m
11) Riding my favorite bay horse through pastures of sweet clover
12) Helping Pops and Husband dig post holes
13) Climbing to the hill tops to catch thunderheads rolling through a pink sunset
14) Following a deer trail through the thick trees to a juneberry, chokecherry or raspberry bush
15) Planting corn and peas and tomatoes and cucumbers and carrots and beans and radishes and pumpkins, watering them, weeding them, picking them and serving them up fresh and delicious with a margarita on my deck in my bright orange swimming suit after a long day of kayaking under the big, blue, beautiful summer sky we’ve all been dreaming of.
So what’s on your summer list?