It’s time I got my inner tube out of my car, so says my daughter. I guess she’s right. I’ve been holding out, just in case we get another blast of summer, and it could still happen, you know?
Holly likes to remind me that she’s always right. If this chilly rain drowning the pumpkins is any indication, she’s right again. But I want more. More!
More floating aimlessly on the glittering lake while my children chill on the beach, more Frisbee at the dog park, and more savoring blueberries with Daisy.
We love a good blueberry, my dog and I, and they were particularly perfect, the ones I picked with my daughter and her boyfriend during our last visit to Michigan.
We’d set out for the bakery, and, still savoring that last bite of breakfast on our way up the Red Arrow Highway in search of treasure, spotted a sign for the patch. A real blueberry patch!
“Go deep,” another visitor suggested. “Three big buckets,” she shouted, triumphantly hoisting one over her head before disappearing around a bend.
“Try and collect as many as you eat,” I called out to the kids, who’d jogged up ahead. I hope the proprietor factored snacking into their price per pound. Oy.
“I like the sound,” Holly said a bit later, when I finally caught up with them.
Yeah, that soft plink when the first few tumble into the bucket? Sure is sweet. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
“How do you know when they’re ripe enough to pick?” I asked.
I’d never been to a blueberry patch before (how can that be?), and was fascinated by the clusters of berries in varying stages of ripeness.
“When they fall off into your hand,” Reid said.
Ah, yes, makes sense. Holly and Reid made quick work of their picking and disappeared again into the huge patch with their pails. The sun was strong, this first cool day in weeks, so I hiked my shirt higher on the nape of my neck and anchored it in place with the loop of rope dangling from my pail, as intended, my hands now free to pluck the dusty blue orbs. Alone but not alone, with the warm sun, sweet berries and relative quiet of the nearby woods for company. Heaven.
Holly returned a while later to report that she’d spotted a deer prancing off into the woods a dozen yard away, presumably after a berry break, but I know the truth: She’d come to fish me out of my reverie.
“Got enough berries, Jenny?”
Nice. Ya gotta love adult children. The third time Holly came to fetch me, she literally got behind me, covered my eyes, and scooted me out of the patch. Not one to be deterred, I giggled and nabbed a few more berries on our way out.
“Every time you pick one, a child dies,” Holly threatened.
Ha! Fun day. Can’t blame me for wishing for just one more, can you?
Even a couple of weeks ago, I pretended summer hadn’t gone, when I dashed outside to catch rays from a weakening sun and spotted several bumblebees bumbling about, but they already tottered like dopey drunks from cooler temperatures.
They were no match for spry Daisy, who lunged and foolishly pawed at them, while I admonished her to remember that the Earth really needs the bees. (It doesn’t need more dog poop, but I digress.)
The merest murmur of cicadas had all but ceased, and nearby stood the Rose of Sharon bush, all its blossoms closed for business save one – stubbornly open, face tilted up at a hopeful angle, perhaps hoping for just one more ray of sun.
Maybe that’s the one who, like some people, prefers to slide into home plate with dirt on her knees, having lived the life out of every last moment?
Yeah, that’s the spirit, little blossom. You’re my kind of people. And you’re right (sorry, Holl!): I’ll put my inner tube away when I’m good and ready.
Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her family. Her column runs regularly in the Best of the Fox section of the Kane County Chronicle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.