MidSummer Musings

Here’s how things stand at midsummer. The sorrel has bolted and the musk melon has run amok. Giant golden orb spiders have begun spinning their webs and the bees and butterflies have moved on from the spent lillies to the flowering anise. The screened porch is full of sand, but the mildew, thankfully, is leaving the lampshades alone. I’ve cut my hair short and stopped wearing underwear. There’s a Judy Garland CD stuck on the stereo. And the zinnias and snapdragons are nothing less than riotous.

With temperatures now hovering in the high 90’s and a seemingly unending row of sunny days, it’s almost too dangerous to work in the garden. In this drought, everything needs way too much water and twice now while waving the hose around I’ve slipped off of my cheap Brazilian flip flops and tumbled down the steps. Honestly, there were no Bloody Marys involved.

Hot, lazy midsummer days like these are best spent safely on the beach, I think, reading and napping, punctuated by refreshing dips into the cool Atlantic. The jellies haven’t arrived yet and the prevailing easterly winds are keeping the biting flies at bay.

I don’t know about you, but I find it extraordinarily difficult to focus on anything too serious in all this heat. I’m reading three books right now, but inevitably they stay buried at the bottom of my beach bag along with a bag of stale pistachio nuts. Some half-baked story ideas are in there too, crumpled up and stained with suntan oil.

It’s much easier to drift in and out of consciousness and listen to the surf and just let your mind wander and wonder about things like what’s really beneath that bulging blue Speedo over there and how the pale fleshy guy with the sunburn frolicking down by the surf looks surprisingly like a grilled sea scallop and wouldn’t they taste good for supper tonight.

Just the other day I found myself alternately looking at two attractive men playing paddle ball and two attractive lots for sale at the end of the Boardwalk. I began fantasizing. If only I had an extra $3 million in my bank account. Why I’d buy them both – the lots, that is — and build a trophy house the likes of which Rehoboth Beach has never seen.

Yes indeed, a one-room writer’s shack.

400 square feet of ocean front living space that would shock every developer in town who thinks bigger is better and who aspires to see every inch of beachfront property developed to the max. My trophy house would extol the virtues of romance, simplicity, and creativity, rather than profit and luxury.

As I bake on the beach, I imagine a big wooden table suited for writing and for eating watermelon. I’d need a few modern conveniences, like a sink and a refrigerator and a toilet. But the shower must be outdoors. And, forget the big screen television, my trophy house needs only music and the sounds of the laughter. No air conditioning either. Fans will suffice when the ocean breezes don’t. Just one big bed. Some inviting Adirondack chairs for sitting out in the sand.

My trophy house wouldn’t be a place for fancy fundraisers and dinner parties. It’d be a space where friends would gather after the beach for conversation and cocktails. Everyone would be barefooted and wearing bathing suits or old madras shorts. When night falls we’d light the oil lamps and savor the sounds of the wind and the waves crashing onto shore. And, unlike some other property owners, I wouldn’t complain if some of the fellas at the end of the Boardwalk were to get a little frisky and howl to the moon.

I know, I know, it’s a romantic, impractical dream, the product of way too much sun and heat. Midsummer madness even. But, wouldn’t it be delightful?


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