The joys of a perfect midsummer day

oat shocks, Amish farm
Field soldiers.

By Bruce Stambaugh

The day began as another sleepy sonnet in a series of hot, muggy, midsummer dog days. It turned out to be an inspirational novella.

In keeping with my fair weather routine, I took my morning stroll. I typically immerse myself in the sights, sounds, and morning fragrances of field corn and fresh laundry.

Not this day. The air was thick, moist enough to ring it out and still be left holding a damp rag. Breathing even became a chore.

Already sweated, I dove into necessary yard work back home. I wanted to complete it before the elements became even more oppressive.

I donned my trusty work gloves. Out came the noxious poison ivy. Out went the volunteer walnut and oak seedlings sprouted from the nuts that the squirrels and blue jays had planted in the flowerbeds last fall. They conveniently abandoned them for my birdfeeders.

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Even with little rain, the shrubs seemed to have grown a foot while we were away. I grabbed the trimmer and snipped the wiry branches.

After cleaning up, I took breakfast in the shade of the back porch. With the high humidity, the chances of rain looked promising.

I checked the progress of the road repair in our rural township, the prettiest in the state. No, I’m not up for reelection. As a trustee, I just enjoy inspecting the roads, conversing with folks, and breathing in the beauty of the picturesque landscape.

My camera is my faithful sidekick on my rounds. I’m mindful of respecting Amish ways when it comes to photography. I focus on the agricultural artistry. The golds and greens are at their peak of brilliance even in this mini-drought.

While away, the neighbor mowed the adjacent alfalfa much to the delight of the swooping swallows and the purple martins. They harvested insects in concentric circles around the sturdy workhorses and their mowing master.

To the east, thunderstorms built fast and furious, their anvil tops reaching 60,000 feet. Our meteorological ingredients fed the liquid fortunes of folks 100 miles away.

In the afternoon heat, I turned to writing in the comfortable air conditioning. I confess to guiltlessly adding my two cents worth to global warming.

Neva worked her magic with dinner. We enjoyed a summer feast of fresh veggies and fruit washed down with freshly brewed garden mint tea.

As the storms moved further east, the air here cleared and cooled, if only because the dew point and humidity took a temporary break. Feeling refreshed, we walked around the parched flower gardens and discovered the season’s first monarch caterpillars.

It was about that time that a friend rode by on his bicycle and waved hello. We returned the gesture and moseyed into the house. We weren’t in long when the doorbell rang. It was Mark. He had turned around, and come for a spontaneous visit, the best kind.

Mark was a former student of mine. With more tea poured, we began a marvelous time of reminiscing on the back porch. He filled us in on his family and former classmates. We happily learned that he is now a grandfather.

We cherished his presence and friendly update, despite the unintentional reminder of how old my wife and I are. It was one of the main perks of living and working in the same community over time.

Rank and location have their privileges. So does having a view to the west. A stunning sunset proved a fitting end to a perfect summer’s day.

sunset, Holmes County OH
Stunning sunset.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2016

Author: Bruce Stambaugh

Writer, marketer, columnist, author, photographer, birder, walker, hiker, husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, township trustee, converted Anabaptist, community activist, my life is crammed with all things people and nature and wonder. My late father gave me this penchant for giving and getting the most out of life, my late mother the courtesy, kindness, and creativity to see the joy in life. They both taught me to cherish the people I am with. I try and fail and try again.

4 thoughts on “The joys of a perfect midsummer day”

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