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Summer, I Love You: Deep Wishes Midlife

By Terresa Wellborn

Ah, summer, of homemade freshly-picked-strawberry ice cream churning on the back patio. Of long days with late dinners, later star gazing. Of tennis court roller skating, sweat running down the backs of our knees. My child-wish: that summer would last forever.

I can still remember one day very well. It was the day when my summer came.”

-Knut Hamsun

Summer is a season to reconnect, travel, play. A summer doesn’t pass that I don’t steal a moment away with my sister while our kids run, hike, teepee, and we both agree, These are the days. Our kids are still with us, among us, hummingbird watching, Sundaying with us on the pew, begging to extend our family reunions just one day more. Despite challenges (and there are many), we are still in Eden.

Summer begs us to adore, explore. Merriam Webster defines summer as “the warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August and in the southern hemisphere from December to February.” It also states (definition #4): “a period of maturing powers.”

Hmmm.

One’s personal Summer. As my mid-life coincides with this season, I wonder, is this the high point of one’s life? The pinnacle? The beginning of the end? Bunions and colon checks, heart murmurs and hemorrhoids? Perhaps all of that, but something greater, beyond.

Just as summer marks midyear, midlife asks, “What you have become? Can you still flower?” It is a reckoning. And you must look in the mirror and reply.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.

-Pablo Neruda

I’m cursed with a deep wish for every day to be summer within. Green. Light. Brighter than bright. Extraordinary. To imbue small acts with grace, divinity, glory. It is the poet within. But dark days, when I’ve asked my children for the 100th time to please turn in their cel phones/turn off Netflix/let’s go outside/listen/help, I dismay. No one responds. The a/c chokes, broken, I feel broken, the house hangs 87 degrees inside. I want to run, hide. Those days loom sunless, summerless.

Those days the dark wolf wins.

Just the other morning my small kitchen toppled with dirty dishes, the outdoor trails beckoned, but my calling (among many, mother) insisted: stay, help, guide. I wilted. Then I turned to my place at our table and found breakfast. For me. One I hadn’t prepared, my fourteen year old daughter did. That was summer. Brightness and beauty, plated. Echoing Frost’s poem, And thatmade all the difference.

We witnessed another summer last Sunday, when after a rough morning, we returned home to treats and love letters gracing our door. Or the last day of school, when, after my youngest had a gaggle of friends over for water games, one mother texted me that my son befriending hers was an answer to her prayers. She said, “We just have to keep taking care of each other.” Amen.

Summer blazes as light, the Holy Ghost, goodness, whenever we listen and respond. Recently, summer appeared as a dish of chicken enchiladas from two friends. Welcomed light and homemade salsa. Some would call it ministering or generosity. I call it love.

What is your deep wish for summer and for life?

About Terresa Wellborn

Terresa Wellborn has been published in BYU Studies, Dialogue, and several anthologies including Fire in the Pasture, Monsters and Mormons, and Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She has a BA degree in English Literature and a MLIS degree in Library and Information Science. Her joys include her four children, books, and chocolate babka. She reads faster than she hikes, runs faster than she writes, and has often been mistaken for Miss Frizzle. When not on a mountaintop, she prefers to dwell in possibility.

2 thoughts on “Summer, I Love You: Deep Wishes Midlife”

  1. Your unexpected breakfast, front-door love letters, affirming mom-to-mom text, and friend-delivered enchiladas sound like the best of light-filled, summer sun-showers sprinkling you with tangible tastes of love in action.

    I'd never before thought of summer as "a period of maturing powers," but the idea intrigues me.

    Though my yearly rhythm no longer depends on summer school breaks, my default annual summer wish has remained happily fulfilled and virtually unchanged since childhood — read more books. Now, as to life summering, I'm still in the infancy of grand-parenting. My newly refined summer goal includes reading more books — to my granddaughter. (Picture and board books today, wonderful chapter books tomorrow.)

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  2. Thanks for the image-rich reflection on summer. This is very beautiful with just a hint of melancholy, which makes these delightful moments more salient. This is my last summer with my last child before she graduates from hs. These are, indeed, the (dwindling) days.

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