This summer, I did not, even once, fold a falling stream of jewel-colored berries into a buttery batter sweetened with sugar to make a cake, crumble, pie or some such similar thing.
But I did eat bowl after bowl of blueberries, rasberries, blackberries and peaches, covered in cream and powdered sugar or over a bowl of oatmeal.
This summer, I did not pad around town in fashionable sandles, the way I once did, showing off expensive pedicures. In fact, I only had one pedicure the entire summer.
But I did spend an inordinate amount of time barefoot in my backyard, dirtying the soles and toes of my feet, pulling weeds, tending to our garden, playing with our dog.
This summer, I did not step one singular toe into a body of water, fresh or saltwater. I did not return home from the beach, body and beach towel damp and smelling of sunscreen, leaving a trail of sand on my way to the shower.
But I did rediscover my love for swimming laps, something I enjoyed tremendously in my early twenties. Swimming laps in a pool is the one exercise that frees my mind from all its twisting, turning thoughts and more often than not I returned home from the pool relaxed, happy, and more fit than I’ve been in a long time. I’m up to swimming half a mile.
This summer, I did not revise my novel.
But I did write many scenes that I know will be included in the final version, and I finally settled on an ending. I begin revising tomorrow.
This summer, I did not go to Greece, or Yellowstone Park, or Las Vegas, or the Outer Banks, like many of my co-workers and friends.
But I did spend ten days entirely unplugged from my blackberry and laptop, passing the seconds, minutes and hours on the front porch and dock at our cabin in northern Michigan. Every morning I was greeted by the call of the loon on the lake, and every night I fell asleep to the comforting, repetitive whoop of a nearby whipperwill.
This summer I did not throw the big 4th of July party of my imagination.
But I did host one very impromptu party that lasted well into the morning hours and turned out to be more fun than any planned party ever could. I also spent numerous evenings sitting in the backyard with S., listening to music and enjoying a glass or three of wine.
This summer we did not accomplish nearly as much on the house as we had hoped.
But frankly, I think you all could have warned us that it would be much more expensive and time-consuming than we thought.
Today, we are not smoking the pork shoulder we thought we would, nor are we sitting outside in the sun, toasting au revoir to the last of the summer days.
But we are going to a movie, and making a roast, and, in our jeans and sweaters we will instead welcome fall, which has arrived with storm clouds and rain and preternaturally cool air. We are of the if life gives you lemons, squeeze them into some vodka sort of people.