(This is a series I’m calling Fine Print, where I will tell stories and reflect on life.)
These days there are crickets getting into the apartment from the patio. They jump along the floor while I hurry to catch them before Charlie sees one and freaks out.
I gently scoop them and set them free out on the patio.
July is almost over. I sit in the apartment and try to stay cool.
Fans whir overhead, reminding me of childhood days in the stores of my youth. Where there were often wood floors and a fan trying to keep the customers cool while they shopped.
There were big long machines filled with sodas. You lifted up the lid, grabbed your bottle, and took off the bottle cap in the built-in bottle opener along the side.
Does anyone remember those?
I don’t recall feeling as worn out with the heat back then. I’d take the cold bottle, already sweating with perspiration, and roll it against my skin to cool off before I left the store.
Now I keep the blinds mostly drawn. Trying to battle the heat outside my door. This is an old apartment, relatively speaking, and it is hard to keep the heat out and the cold in. And vice versa.
I let the dogs out, and it prompts that silly little Bewick’s wren to hop out from underneath one of the chairs outside. It hops along in its manic way, beak open, as though it has something on its mind to say to me.
I wonder if it’s the same wren every time?
Maybe its staying under the gazebo because the temperature has been over 100 degrees every day. Which means I have to keep an eye on the plants as they wither and droop in the heat of afternoon.
I go to the fridge and break off a stem of grapes and pop their coolness into my mouth, one by one. Makes me think I need to get a small watermelon next time I dash out to the store.
I sit here and stare at my collection of mason jars, and think of ones quite similar stored down in the cellar when I was a child. Then they were filled with goodness by the end of summer. Lined along simple narrow shelves in the cool underground room.
By the season’s end, we were stocked up with garden vegetables and fruit from the big garden that kept us fed.
To keep our garden in shape, my grandmothers took their hoes and scraped at the soil to unearth the weeds on a regular basis.
Sometimes it seems like I can still hear the cadence of hoe against dirt, all those years ago. Punctuated by dogs barking in the distance and the sound of our chickens scrabbling and clucking in the fenced chicken yard.
Sometimes I want to step back into the shadows of that other time.
Rock in the rockers on the front porch.
Catch crickets and set them free.