Ten years ago, we lived in an old wooden farmhouse in Vermont. It sat at the top of a slope that rolled down to a lazy river, and in the middle of the slope was a huge and ancient apple tree, the variety of which we were never able to establish. Long before we had kids, on one of The Author’s birthdays, friends of ours shimmied up the tree and installed a swing for us to play on. The ropes of the swing were about 20 feet long, and because the tree was on a hill, when you swung even a little bit, you all of a sudden were about 8 feet in the air. If you pumped your legs vigorously, enough to get the swing so high that your toes could touch the dangling apples on the branches above, well, you were very high up indeed. It was thrilling, if not a bit terrifying. Continue reading →
I have an old photo of me and my sister taken at the Jersey shore. We are two small children in the surf, holding onto something that looks like a tow rope at a ski slope, and the waves are swirling around our calves. We are lightly browned with shockingly blonde hair, and we are both squinting into the sun with huge smiles of delight.
I don’t remember the particular day that photo was taken, but I do recall other particulars of those summers. I remember my mom driving the three of us to the beach, with my sister and me sweating in the sweltering and sticky back seat of the Karmann Ghia, even with the windows rolled all the way down. I remember also how delicious a picnic tasted at the shore; peanut butter and jelly – despite the inevitable addition of sand – was so sweet and satisfying, potato chips seemed to be made deliciously saltier by the sea air, and fruit always seemed juicer when eaten on the beach blanket within the sound of the crashing waves. I remember reading on the beach, and then when I got too hot, bouncing around in the waves for hours, so that when I finally lay in my bed later that night, my body still seemed to sway with the power of the surf.
I like to believe that entire summers were made up of these moments, but I know that there were also days of idle boredom while Continue reading →