Editor’s Note: It’s half-way through summer, and hot almost everywhere. Who could blame you if you pull up a lawn chair and soak your feet in your child’s kiddie pool? Or turn the hose over your own head when you water the garden?
The community pool, the nearby lake, the yard sprinkler, even a long shower seem to beckon us at this time of year. It’s too early to be cynical (that happens in August!), but here’s a poem that does seem to hint at that wilted feeling that will come on soon enough.
The toddlers in their tadpole bodies,
with their squirt guns and snorkels,
their beautiful mommies and inflatable whales,
are still too young to understand
that this is as good as it gets.
Soon they must leave the wading pool
and stand all day at the concession stand
with their hormones and snow cones,
their soul patches and tribal tattoos,
pretending not to notice how beautiful they are,
until they simply can’t stand it
and before you know it
they’re lined up on lawn chairs,
dozing in the noonday sun
with their stretch marks and beer bellies,
their Wall Street Journals and SPF 50.
1. Do you recognize yourself anywhere in this poem? Write about your associations to splashing in the backyard, hanging out with your friends showing off your suit, or watching others romping in the pool. Try to capture the scents, sounds, and textures of summer.
2. Project yourself 10 years into the future, and imagine yourself near some water hole during the summer heat. What do you feel, observe, imagine?
3. Freeze a moment in time where you were playing in water and loving it. Breathe deeply into the memory, and write for at least 10 minutes about how you felt then. If you wish, you can combine several memories into one and write as if they happened in the same space of time.