In the spring, when the weather begins to warm, we jump at the chance to be outside, seizing every excuse and opportunity to exit our home to breathe in the fresh air and stretch our winter-weary limbs. After breakfast is eaten and clothes are changed, little boys tumble pell-mell from the house, like frisky puppies released to frolic on the lawn. Everything is fun, if it's done outdoors. I watch my sons blow bubbles and walk barefoot in the grass and climb trees and ride the Gator and swing and hunt rabbits and
work play in flowerbeds and mow the yard (well, pretend to mow the yard!) and ride the Gator some more, and I think, "This is what I've waited all winter long to see. It's every bit as wonderful as I imagined."
But something changes as spring turns into summer. The mercury inches higher in the thermometer. The newness of time outdoors is gone since we've had several months of warm weather by now. My boys become more and more reluctant to venture out of the house. I send them out to play; and they return shortly, saying, "It's hot!" After afternoon quiet times, I hand them a homemade pineapple or grape popsicle and shoo them out with instructions to find a shady tree to sit under while they eat their frozen treat. When the popsicle is gone, the boys return hastily, grateful for the coolness found indoors. It's just not the same as spring, when I could hardly get them to come in!
However, summer has one feature that rivals spring's fresh outdoor delights; and that is The Evening.
Is there anything like a summer evening? The air cools, the pace relaxes; and once again, we love nothing more than to be outside. Once again, we have to give ourselves a stern talking-to when it's time to come in because the delight we experience out-of-doors entices us to linger. Once again, I watch my sons enjoy all the simple delights of a childhood in the countryside; and my heart wells up as I hear their voices ring through the night air. Storing up sweet memories is what summer evenings are all about.
Sometimes the fun comes from playing with neighbor children--in this case, with a boomerang.
Sometimes it comes from swinging--and Shav especially likes it when his grandpa pushes him because Shav tries to reach Grandpa with his feet, then Grandpa staggers backwards and grunts as if Shav had just kicked him, and Shav laughs and laughs. :)
Sometimes the fun comes from the trampoline--although Shav is still a little unsure of himself when he's on that strange bouncy contraption that makes him feel like "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!"--or at the very least, "the earth is moving, the earth is moving!"
Sometimes the fun comes from hide-and-seek...or tag...or any of the other quintessential childhood games that young ones so easily learn to play. But whatever activity they choose, I find my pleasure in watching them...and, if I can snag them long enough to ask them to pause, in photographing them.
A year from now, when this season rolls around and we once again revel in the gift of summer evenings, these boys won't look the same. They won't walk or talk or play or act the same.
If I don't catch these moments now, they'll be gone.
Gone like the summer of 2011 itself will be before we know it.
...but so are glorious summer evenings.