Carol Jane Remsburg
Every June the same sound can be heard across the land, it's the sound of the last bell of the school year. It's an adrenaline rush more pure than any mainline drug-user could hope to achieve. On the last day, the last bell rings as the doors swing wide in an explosion that empties the building. There is no stampede like that of children. They have a capacity for joy beyond our reach.
As adults we recall that same thrill but only through the filter that the passage of years has dulled. We view our immediate future without the open-ended possibilities of the unknown as our children do. They don't think about the coming of September with its chalkboard dust, new books, and all the fresh supplies of paper and pencils that mark the beginning of another year at learning. No, all they are thinking about is blue skies, warm weather, and the freedom to enjoy every last second of it.
Our children have no clue that within a week or less they will utter the incredulous words that they are "bored" and crave distraction. It matters not if they have little or plenty. Their regime has been altered either by visits to grandparents, other family, or even to camp. Their summer highlights may include swim trips, water slides, miniature golfing, rock climbing, and such. However some of the most innocuous events will live with them forever: playing with sparklers at dusk just before the 4th, chasing lightning bugs as the dew falls while the warm air still caresses, and riding their bikes until they are totally exhausted. None of these last things have been initiated by the 21st century but by times past. These simple things still hold a certain eternal charm that stays with us.
Families and friends will gather during this time over gas and charcoal grills—I still prefer charcoal because it does require a tad of finesse and the results can be much finer. In the smoke and the haze of the humidity, people laugh and talk and they play. Yard games of badminton and volleyball can bring gales of laughter. Watermelons will be split and passed around for refreshment with that near liquid sweetness. Food and drink are enjoyed by all beneath a benevolent sky.
As dusk falls an early summer squall may form to the delight of the onlookers as they reach shelter. The afternoon frolics subside but the savoring of nature can still be felt behind the glass or the screen of the back porch as the thunder rumbles and the lightning flashes preceding the clean sweep of the freshening rain.
We've all come back to life from our winter sleep. Our spring was wet and dreary even as it held out the promise of better times to come. That time is now before the heat becomes too intense.
Yea, the good times are now. The kids that escaped the schoolroom know it. Don't you think it's time we did too?