Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Summer has turned a corner for us, it seems. There are a few butternut trees around whose leaves have begun to yellow. This is a sign. And so it the fact that I’ve purchased a pile of notebooks, a few packs of highlighters, a box of pencils, some loose leaf paper. The kids don’t want to hear the word “school”, and I don’t say it, but it’s on the horizon and I’m thinking of who needs what shoes and on what day we drive up to the college. It’s not a sad time, but there’s a shift in things, and a renewed eagerness for things summery: a visit to the lake, a day at a festival, more farmer’s markets, some extra wood for the fire pit, and could there please be something grilled this week? Something with barbecue sauce, and some corn wrapped in foil, and s’mores after?
As I cleaned up some of the weeds in the yard today, I gave my thoughts to how we measure time, and how there’s always a turning, and to how there are people who are handed diagnoses which tell them they don’t have the kind of time left that most people do. All my life, since reading the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross books on my parents’ bookshelf, I have been drawn to the wisdom of the people who have been told “what they have” will end their lives before their lives might otherwise have ended. And I have been moved by their strength, and their candor. “I wish I’d taken more time,” they have said. “I wish I had played more,” or “I wish I’d kept it touch with my friends.”
And there are some who have no warning at all, no time to look back, whose lives flicker and fade in a sudden moment on a road somewhere, an unexpected swerving; those whose chests tighten and seize as they run the last mile toward home; those who don’t smell the smoke in time; those caught by the sudden fall of a tree, a hay bale, their own body.
Everything ends, and you carry this knowledge with you inside, until you’re reminded by something like the summer’s fading flowers, the turning leaves, how tumbleweeds bounce down dirt roads in the wind. The blessing, perhaps, is that we don’t know when. The blessing, too, is that we might rise up tomorrow, choose to take a bit more time, play more, and make a phone call to a friend. Just be, out there in the windy heat of summer, because it’s there. And so are we.
Need a quick something to bring along to the cookout? This recipe will take only a few minutes to make, and you’ll have people asking, “What is this?” “It’s a ball of cheese,” you can tell them. Plain and simple.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz Velveeta, diced
1 package sliced beef, diced
Minced onion to taste
2 T Miracle Whip
1 tsp garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together; form into a ball.
Serve with crackers and a garnish.