24 May 2008

The welcoming of Summer.

"A Moment of Clarity" by Eric Zener
"Then followed that beautiful season...
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Memorial Day weekend, although not technically summer yet, always rings in the summer season for me. Of course, it's the inaugural weekend of the Madison Community Pool in my hometown of Madison, NJ. It's the weekend that throngs of children and their weary parents have been waiting for – ready for a break and some freedom splashing, doing handstands, playing Marco Polo, and eating ice cream while sitting on a wet towel. As I lay here in my hammock writing this, my parents are probably there at the pool now, living out another one of thousands of warm summery days they - and I - have spent there. Yes, at this moment, my dad is probably floating on his back flashing my mom a goofy grin as only his toes and head stick out of the water. And surely my mom is doing her water aerobics, the ever-present side ponytail bouncing in the wind.

Usually Steven and I travel up to New Jersey in autumn now (a season which is equally memorable there in its own way), and it's been several years since I was in Madison in the summer, for one of my mom's impeccably-planned Moonlight Swims, as she is the pool's social director. But this year, I get to travel home in June, and the main thing I'm looking forward to is going to the Madison Pool. I'm already imagining how wonderful it will be to swim underwater exploring the thousands of square feet of underwater caverns, just like I did when I was 10.

You see, a few weeks ago, we found out my dad's health was threatened, and I am going home to New Jersey to be there during his surgery. It's not the greatest reason to return home, but I'm really anticipating this trip in an odd way. It's scary to face one of your parents potentially being ill, and there's something about it that forces you to see life differently, to say the least. The wonderful news is that after the surgery, my dad should be well. But now, I hold even more tightly to memories of him. Swimming with my dad, bracing myself on his slippery back as he toted me around the pool like a submarine, is one of my favorite memories. And I hope I get to enjoy summer with him for many more years until he is old and his Cheech Marin mustache is gray and he can still carry me on his back in the water.

"Metamorphosis" by Eric Zener

As you can probably tell from the absence of posts here lately, I've felt mostly uninspired. When I have felt inspired, I haven't been able to get out the words that are floating around my head. But somehow I can always write about this. Summer runs deeply in my blood, and the enjoyment of it will never fade until I'm 90 years old, wearing a Granny bathing suit and bathing cap with a plastic flower over the ear. In between now and that time, I want to live my life excited about summer each year, as I am now, and as I always have been.

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
~Henry James

I'm off to my friend's pool with Steven, to drink some icy cold cream soda with my feet dangling in the water. Wishing you rest and joy this weekend as you anticipate summer, wherever you are.


Mandy said...

So glad you shared this...and I pray your dad's surgery goes well. As Memorial Day weekend is here, I'm doing a lot of remembering myself. My dad passed away a year and a half ago and we're just now starting to do some of the final closure things...which I'll soon write about on my blog (as soon as I'm inspired myself), but it is scary when you're not sure what the future holds. I pray your dad will be well after the surgery and that you'll have years more of good times to remember w/ him!

kristian & katy said...

im so sorry to hear about your father's health but i am so glad you get to go home, and that the surgery seems hopeful.
thanks for sharing.

beautiful images of summer. i love hearing about your memories. you have a way with words :)


jenni said...

Stine, this is a beautifully-written post. As you know, we are praying for your Dad's surgery often. You are the best of daughters!

(and Eric Zener's art is amazing)

robyn a. jones said...

i'm praying for your dad and your mom and you specifically. i love you and pray god's healing hand touches your family and your heart in a special way. i love you very much and your hubby too. i will be thinking of ya'll in the coming days and if there is anythingelse i can specifically pray for, please share! love you-robyn

Madi said...

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thax

I think you meet the requirements for that =)

I know how you must be feeling right now with your dad. I will hope and pray for you and your family and the doctors involved. Here's to a safe trip and an amazing summer with daddys and memories!!

Lauren said...

thanks for a glimpse into where you are right now, stine... ((((( hugs ))))) you know you've got my prayers...i hope you can 'soak up' madison while you're there, and have beautiful, memorable, wonderful times with your parents. love you always, and glad to see you blogging again. (i've been checking in religiously. LOL.)

Ali O said...

my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. thanks for posting this. i'm glad you can go be with your dad...

and i love the summer quotes! i just slathered my girls in sunscreen for the first time this season. summer is truly here!

The Velvet Trunk said...

Girl, I am not a painting chick but this guy's work almost brought me to tears- I just love it. Thanks so much for sharing.

And please keep us updated on your Dad. I'm really close to mine too and just the thought of his health being in jeopardy nearly sends me into tears.

Sending you a hug girl,

Amy Alexander said...

I am so glad that you decided to do this post. I hope that you will share many more memories, stories and pictures to come of your time with your father!

Suz said...

i love that i got to see your parents dancing at the madison pool at a moonlight swim. i can still see your dad's grin as they danced cheek to cheek. :-) loved everything about this post.