A short walk or drive from the beaches and crashing waves. Huge old green trees and flowers everywhere. Actual woods to walk through. Homes and buildings that have been there long before I was here and will be here long after I’m gone.
I always loved summer growing up. My mom and dad both worked full time so my sister watched me most of the time. We were always outside playing, climbing trees or riding bikes. If we were in the house it was just long enough to watch reruns of I Love Lucy while we ate lunch, and then we’d be out again.
It felt endless, like we just had nothing to do but explore the neighborhood, bike ride to Port Monmouth beach, wander the little broken-down old cemetary, get an italian ice form the truck that drove through the streets.
On weekends if we could beg them hard enough, mom or Granny and Pop Pop would take us to the boardwalk.
Those were the best days. Playing games, going on rides, sitting on the beach, going down the waterslides (although my sister mostly was brave enough to do that, I was a wimp), eating pizza and cotton candy and ice cream. Tanned and a little sunburned and happy to no end. Falling asleep on the car ride home, completely content.
I know we all tend to idealize our childhoods, but mine really was pretty great. I think even now, I’d be a happy adult if I knew that I could still play skeeball on the weekends while the breeze off the ocean made me a little chilly.
But being here in the desert, where every day is the same and being outdoors is not an option, it’s basically torture to me and my sister. My skin is always dry and itchy, my eyes are always squinty and sore from the unrelenting sun. There are no breezes, no cool-down once the sun sets. No huge old trees to give shelter and no place to go and just sit and breathe and just be calm.
So I’m missing home today. And missing my love of summer.