Saturday, August 28, 2010

Some Summer Days

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

There are days in summer that are dry as a bone and blistering hot. There are days when the sun burns and the wind peels and lightning starts wildfires that race out of control. Summer skies can be brown with soot and thick with allergens, or they can be broiling with a violence that strips and drowns and washes away.

But there are other summer days, such as today, that open like the bloom of a colorful flower. Scented with the sweet fragrance of fresh-cut alfalfa, they arrive with a kiss of dew and the enveloping warmth of dawn.

There are summer days sweet as a crisp apple that beckon bite after bite down to a core of contentment. Their still mornings lie across the countryside like a Maxfield Parrish painting, lustrous and idyllic.

These are lush days of growth in the fields and pastures, when buyers and sellers feel generous and fortunate, and repairs are made with patience. It feels good to be out-of-doors, whatever the chore.

Some summer days are richly textured with friends and family, full of picnics and swimming holes and grassy lawns. It is a time of fresh-cut flowers, home runs, fishing poles, bicycle rides, lawn mowers, and porch swings. Every meal becomes an occasion for applauding the local produce: buttercrunch lettuce, sweet corn, new potatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, crisp carrots.

There are summer days when folks turn off the air-conditioning, roll down their windows, and hang an arm out the door as they drive. There is much waving and chatting and fellow-feeling all about.

Some summer days seem more colorful than others, when the marigolds and bachelor buttons and Queen Anne's lace and black-eyed Susans stand up taller, and roses are their most vibrant in the calm, warm air.

Butterflies emerge, canary finches dart through the trees, and hummingbirds lick at the trumpet vines.

The daylight concludes with a lingering wash of reds and purples along the western horizon that reflects on the sides of mountains, buildings and people's faces. Everything basks in a ruddy glow for several moments.

And then some summer days end with a clear view of heaven. On such calm nights the Milky Way spreads like a flag across the middle of the sky, billowing slightly in some interstellar breeze. Stars and planets wink at each other across the depths of space. Frogs and crickets and coyotes join in a nocturnal chorus with the swish-swish-swish of sprinklers on the fields and the distant sounds of late-night travelers.

Rural Delivery
Some Summer Days
Michael Hofferber
Artwork: A Summer's Day by Alfred Sisley

Saturday, August 14, 2010


"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony."
~ William Henry Channing, 1810 - 1884