Orange popsicles and the smell of the heat…

Close all the windows, lock the doors,  keep your babies inside…or at least find a good sprinkler.

It’s gonna be a scorcher today.

Yup, it can do that here… 100 + degrees!

When the sun in shining so bright,  turning that scoria road from mud to brick, it’s hard to believe that we have ever known what 30 below zero feels like. Funny how we so easily forget that just a few short months ago driving down the highway with our windows open had the potential to cause severe frost bite.

Oh, North Dakota provides us with so many worlds–one day a barren wasteland of frozen arctic tundra,

another a hot and humid rain forest complete with cattle swishing their tails at the flies and dogs digging holes under the shed to escape from the sky.

I have to tell you that every now and then while I’m milling around this old house, putting away the dishes, fixing my hair in the mirror or making the bed,  a familiar scent fills my nostrils and I am transplanted briefly back to the time where I wore a denim fanny pack and ate orange popsicles on my grandmother’s front stoop.

It happens sometimes when I come up from the basement, that musty scent taking me back to cousin sleepovers and the pajamas our grandmother made for us.

When Wheel of Fortune is on the television and husband is frying something on the stove in the kitchen, I close my eyes, smell the grease, hear the crackle of the hot pan, listen to the applause of the game show and I am eight-years-old again and over for supper at grandma’s.

And when it gets hot like this, the windows open and the warm breeze bouncing in through the entryway, along the kitchen counters, twirling the living room curtains and escaping through the bedroom window I am the girl with the fluffy ponytail, jean-shorts and the idea to cool off.

My skin feels warm and sticky and I inhale that scent–a combination of dew and sweet clover with a hint of cow manure and horse hair.

There’s nowhere else on earth that smells this way. There is no place in the world where summer is so certain, true and familiar to me.

I get the urge to put on my swimming suit (the pink one with black polka dots) and drink from the hose and fill up the blue plastic pool my grandmother used to set alongside of the house. I want to put my feet in and gasp at the chill, hold my breath while I lower my body into the crisp, freezing water and lay down in it, letting the coolness take my breath away.

I want to stay there in that pool while my hair floats wild around my head and watch the grasshoppers leap toward the scorching sky.

I want to jump in that water and out and in again, little pieces of cut grass stuck to my feet.

I want to meet my mother at the screen door for a push-up pop, I want to see her smile and how her brown skin looks against her weekend clothes.

I want the curls to escape from my ponytail and stick to my forehead and I don’t want to care about it.

I want to be thrilled at the heat and forget for a moment that summer doesn’t last forever.

If you need me, I’ll be running through the sprinkler.

Now go get yourself a popsicle.

6 thoughts on “Orange popsicles and the smell of the heat…

  1. Heh Jess…stay in the moment..be a kid again..smell the smells…feel the feel…and enjoy what it was like to be a kid….Rich

  2. It’s a scorcher here, too. We haven’t had rain for days and when you live in town, water costs money. I remember the municipal pool in Bismarck (my summer refuge) and a dairy queen on the way home. Now, I relish air conditioning while I work on my projects and sleep at night without sweating. But, you’re right popsicles and sun-bleached hair are a thing of the past.

  3. OK, that FEELS hot just reading it…..Maybe we’ll get just a tiny bit of that heat up here in the PNW before summer’s over. It was the last day of school here, there couldn’t have been a better post to celebrate with. Thanks!

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