Sunday, July 14, 2013

Simple gifts

Gray overcast skies and bouts of drizzle do not dampen my spirits as I head to the summer house. There is little traffic on the road this July morning.

Fogland State Beach is deserted, yet the attendant at the shack is waiting patiently to check beach passes and collect nonresident fees.

At the ramp there are three empty trailers but nary a boat in sight. With no sea breeze, the Sakonnet is as tranquil as a pond, and as such offers no attraction to windsurfers who probably decided to sleep in this Saturday.

I open the truck window and listen; but there is no noise – no sloughing of the surf, no voices, no cry of a gull. The humid, heavy air muffles any sound.
On summer days like this – when boaters and beach-goers forgo the bay and neighbors stay tucked inside their cottages – I am alone in a natural world of my own and begin to see things often unnoticed.

Getting out of the truck, I am drawn to the bright blue of the hydrangeas, a beacon on this dark day. They spill over in the front yard, and I long to capture their brilliance on canvas – mixing shades of blue, white and dab of yellow, cradling the brush and painstakingly creating each tiny, perfect petal.
Like a huge umbrella, the tree in our backyard beckons, offering me sanctuary as I escape the drizzle. Under cover, I think about the many summers of my life that these branches shielded me from sun and rain.

One of my favorite places as a teen, I spent countless mornings reading here, while my family went fishing. Sheltered and reveling in solitude, I learned how to tell stories in this place, as I absorbed page after page of novels, nonfiction, newspapers and magazines.
My husband cut the grass yesterday, and it is a thick, verdant carpet underfoot. I slept on this cushion as a child, when there was nothing in our yard but a green tent. I still remember the sound the zipper made, as my father tucked us in for the night.

As I grew, this became my playground, the flooring for volleyball games and croquet, the perfect seat for watching July fireworks over the bay and the best place to search the night sky for a falling star.
As I celebrate another birthday this week, I am grateful for all the gifts God has given me. Shrouded in mist, I take a few steps in my backyard, and they are too many to count.  

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