Blush of Summer

A while ago, as I sat on the screened porch—eating my dinner of a sardicado sandwich on pumpernickel bread, accompanied by a Shiner Bock beer—I watched a storm brew in the distance. Angry clouds stirred in the distant sky and moved with impressive speed in my direction. By the time I finished my sandwich, I could see a wall of rain move right to left across the forests and fields in the lowlands below. To the left of the moving wall were forests, every tree distinct in its greenery. To the right, a grey tower of rain obliterated everything. The wall moved quickly across my view, closing in not only right to left, but distant to near. Soon, powerful wind gusts bent tree branches just a few feet in front of me and shook the limbs of the trees violently. When the plastic cover of the smoker, anchored by a heavy stone, flew up and attempted to free itself from the stone, I knew the time had come to go inside. In a matter of minutes, the storm was gone. An enormous rainbow appeared out the window, its right-most end touching the ground just below us, maybe a quarter of a mile away. Using my smartphone camera, I took poor shots of my sandwich and the rainbow.

I returned to the screen porch with my notebook computer and add-on keyboard and mouse (I loathe the touch-pad and built-in keyboard) to write this. And to think. And to marvel at the enormity of the sky and beyond. As I sit here—my eyes watching the trees and fields and birds and scanning the sky more often than they scan my screen—I reflect on how fortunate we are to live here, in these troubled times and in this poverty-stricken state. I complain about it all, but my complaints are embarrassments when contrasted with the appreciation expressed by people who have only a fraction for which to be grateful.

All right, emerging from that little dip in mood, I now recall my morning, which was spent in a critique group at the  Garland County Library. It was useful. Though only three of us were there, we went through one another’s pieces in great detail, each helping the other with comments and questions and suggestions. I liked it.  The piece I’ve submitted to the group is the same one I’ve submitted to my “home” critique group, which will meet Thursday. It will be interesting to compare the comments and suggestions. This piece of mine is not as “deep” as most of my writing. It’s more action-adventure, with a bit of psychological thriller and love story thrown in. I’m not sure, frankly, it’s me. But I’m trying it. I enjoy character more than story, I think. This piece is more story than character. But I will see what I can do to bring the characters and their unique traits and characteristics to life. And make their stories more interesting for who they are, than for what they do. Maybe. We’ll see.

The temperatures this morning were almost unpleasantly warm. I’ve been used to upper sixties and low seventies; this morning felt warmer and wetter. The blushing beginning of summer is becoming rosy red-cheeked, the surly beast that causes parents to leave on vacation and to send children to summer camp or, even more punishing, vacation bible school. Ach! I just heard turkeys in my side-yard. Must go find another beer!

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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