As I hummed along, I recalled other perfect days from other summers, particularly one from my pre-teens when I read Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings. I would drag a blanket to the top of the yard and spend the days sprawled under the maple trees, lost among Hobbits and Orcs. Only occasionally would I go back to the house for a Popsicle, or to fly barefott over the gravel driveway to answer the phone (before portables!). In the evenings there would be a firemen's carnival somewhere nearby: a Ferris wheel, the Merry Mixer, Chuck-a-Luck, Italian sausage sandwiches.
Why are summers so vivid? I might not remember their exact years, but they are distinct enough - even past the artificial school-year division of time - to earn names: The Softball Summer. The Johnny Carson Summer. The Summer of Hurricane Agnes. The Snoopy Summer. The Cresson Lake Playhouse Launch Summer. The Summer of Our "Commune" Above Woody's Bar. The Tom Summer. Lanny's Last Summer (our cat). The Wrist Band Summer.
Winters seem to freeze together in an indistinguishable block, unless there's a significant weather event like The Christmas Without Power or The Winter I Kept Losing My Car in Snowdrifts. The transitional seasons include some memorable events, but they don't hang together as seasons. Not like summers.
As I write, I am alone in the morning on the pool deck, watching Amtrak pull out of Main Street Station, the traffic on I-95 and dogs being walked in Shockoe Bottom. Will this be The Summer of Writing at the Pool? Maybe.
I wonder, too, about the lasting effect of that Tolkein Summer. Did the concentrated reading - all that living in a fictitious world - help to launch me into a writing career? Did the pleasure of living barefoot nudge me into the desire to live on an island where shoes are optional year-round? Did that summer inexorably lead to this one?
Whoa. That's too much psychology to take in on such a fine morning. After all, it's summer. I think I'll just let it be and enjoy the season.
One more summer thing: I will be signing copies of Fish-Eye Lens in the Outer Banks next week at Island Books - Tuesday, Aug. 7 at the Corolla Beach location 4-6 p.m. and Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Duck location 4-6 p.m. If you're in the area, stop in!