In the real summers of my Oklahoma childhood it was the night when life could begin to stir as energy depleted by daytime heat restored itself, aided by supper of skillet fried round steak, tomatos and onions and hot coffee. Aroma of the sturdy 4 O’Clocks garnished the air enfolding men holding hoses dispersing water on uncut grass and browned shrubs.
The splattering of the water blended with the voices of the women and snapping beans and shelling peas. Children paused in their games to hear much more than intended.
One evening my mother’s mother looked to the crescent moon and declared, “When I was a child trains were earth shaking clanging puffing magic carriages across the country, The cantankerous automobile came after I had all but two of my children. My first ride on an airplane was to come here came along after more than half of my grandchildren and you my daughter will live to see men go to and walk on that moon.” And so she did.
Stars. These summers of our earliest memories were of night skies filled with the blinking of stars making the rising lightening bugs difficult to discern as they joined the patterns of the constellations.
Through the summer’s progress Leo appears from below the far distant horizon as Gemini disappears descending in the west to well below eye level. The Milky Way could be imagined as just broadcast seed. some hanging still in the atmosphere.
Those long hot summers with their skies over the plains of my memories presented expanses of lights promising the child I was boundless numbers of unique places and people I intended to know and make connection. Even as I child I knew the time was too short.