Today they danced naked in the rain.
As they did back in June when the summer began, the rain trickled down their baby bangs, their popsicle chins. Collecting together in a brown slime between their toes.
They put off dinner to dance. To each claim three muddied towels before it was all over, believing each time their play was over, just until the next downpour began. And of course this checked the box for the weekly bath, and the summer’s best bath for the cattle and the horses, who stood face first in the gale, eyes closed, nearly grinning.
I could have cried when it rained like this in June. Thinking all our dreams for a perfect summer would be washed away like our flooded driveway. And then, the summer of 2019 really began in July, and I truthfully don’t remember a real rain since.
The hot days and the cool nights set the stage for perfection, and about twice, I snapped pictures.
It was a barefoot summer. One calf born, 30 chicks and one miraculous monarch in a glass jar on the living room floor. A best friend birthed her baby, and like the return of summer each year, this new human and season felt something like welcoming a piece of myself back home.
The sun shone on our oldest daughter braving some time at camp, our middle getting her first real hair cut in time for preschool this fall and our youngest learning to walk in a rut in our driveway.
There was a roller coaster, purple hair and a seadoo. But there were also fireflies, face painting, and fishing, too. There were blossoming poppies in the garden this year, and the time to rotate the cattle’s grazing.
The house, all the while, brought together strangers and family alike in guided gentle and steadfast dedication every weekend to bury Valley straw bales in layers of lime plaster, one five gallon bucket at a time.
There were ten glorious weeks, and only one trip to the emergency department. And so I remembered gratitude this year. For having enough.
For there being enough snacks to feed an extra couple mouths every now and then who were also looking to have a dip in the lake. For there being enough days off work to lay on the forest floor in our big red tent three different times, together.
And though I reminded myself to be grateful, it still all moved so quickly, though I willed this summer to be the one to last.
There’s a fine balance to this season, between having enough on the calendar to anticipate, and then having days home to allow the bed sheets to be emptied of sand and slime.
I mourn the end.
But like this rain, summer will return again. And when it does, the dance begins again.