a summer house
Genevieve's Window Lucy Hunnicutt
I am in my summer house now, now that May is almost gone. The blinds are open just like always but now, in this summer house, the light comes in at a different slant and dances over my paintings and our harvest table with more enthusiasm and delight. The yard in summer speaks a different language also. The birds have returned from their long journey across the Gulf of Mexico and they reconnect to one another with loud and boisterous sounds when the heat is at its highest in the middle of the day and in the morning, they exchange gentle chirps and melodies that wake me. At night, in the summer yard, there are tree frogs sounding away their thoughts and needs throughout the dusk and are silenced only by the distant howling of coyotes and the nearby rustling of raccoons in limbs all looking keenly for food. I haven’t heard the cicadas, the ice cream truck or the mosquito truck yet, those sounds will wait and come deeper in summer. For now, I will enjoy the delicate light through my keeping room window in the late afternoon, pick blackberries in the early morning beating the birds and the heat, cut early blooming zinnias to put in one of Elizabeth’s clay pots, and enjoy these effervescent moments in my summer house.
This summer will be my 62nd summer of this life. I reflect about how much I have seen and how little I know. I think of the lives before me and how they accumulated knowledge and passed it on and I wonder how we don’t know everything by now, why don’t we learn, why don’t we listen?
It really all stays the same, we really are no different than those who lived before, only the costumes and props have changed. As I write this, I think, maybe this is how it should be, maybe we all have to take the same journey again and again, maybe that’s life. If so, perhaps we should just enjoy this gift and not look so intensely for the answers, for even if they are found, many times we don’t learn.
Many of the answers we need have been discovered anyway. We all know that love is the most important and beneficial emotion we have and yet we still witness hate each day of our lives, we all know that money cannot buy lasting happiness yet we all watch and sometimes partake in the intense and sometimes corrupt pursuit of it, we know that wars do not bring about peace but we still fight, we know that we all are fighting the same battles yet we still hurt and humiliate each other, we all know that overeating makes us fat yet we are the weightiest ever, and we know that children need love and guidance but so many are denied either. It seems we should be so shrewd by now, we should have life figured out by now.
I think these thoughts as I approach 62 and , like you, scratch my head and try to understand but, like all that have come before, I will not fully know why. So, I write about the honeybees that I watch each day and find solace in their routine and their predictable pattern that they have followed forever. I find joy discovering the first dragonfly of summer and the discovery of bluebirds in the handmade box that faces the field and I wait for the full moon every 28 nights, for these things are real and these things show me that life is a continuous cycle that certainly includes us, tenacious as we may sometimes be.
I will spend my day doing many things, many tasks that need to be done, but I will wait for the late afternoon sun to spill into my kitchen and assure me that life goes on as it always has and I will, for that moment, feel a part of it and I will be happy in my summer house. ps