Summer is when my hands smell of basil and garlic which seem to go into every meal that I can reasonably put them in. Summer is when the air grows heavy with the wanting of rain every late afternoon. Summer is when I think of the river and the kids swinging out over it on the rope hanging from a cypress tree, and then dropping into that miracle of cold glory. Summer is when I think of Roseland with the mangos fat and sweet on the trees and the bamboo knocking its hollow song when the afternoon storm comes in. Summer is when I remember my summers at the beach with Lily and Jessie in our tiny cement apartment with its yard of rocks and sandspurs, the smell of sunscreen and Raspberry Crystal Light and shrimp and the tiny periwinkles we'd gather and I'd steam open to make a broth with that turned into a soup with potatoes and onions and celery and how we'd see the dolphins swimming south every morning and then back north every sunset and my friend Mary Lane visited me and we floated in the warm salty water, our bodies bare to the moon and the dunes. Summer is when there is always a jar or vase of zinnias in the hallway. Summer is when we try to figure out which watermelon is sweetest by thumping them all and really, having no idea what we're listening for. Summer is when the chickens devour whatever watermelon is left on the rinds, no matter the sweetness or not of the fruit. Summer is the wild grapes and the beauty berry and the field peas swelling with their riches. Summer is when the butterfly ginger blooms and when this one blooms, I think of Kathleen who grew everything and who gave this plant to me.
Summer is when the pine cone lilies appear and take their time to turn crimson.