I am finding difficulty giving words to what I want to say, mostly, I think, because I am trying to name at once a specific moment right now that is overlapping with a succession of moments in my past.
I think it starts with summer evening air? Summer evening Midwestern air, perhaps, that is drenched with soil, blooming trees and creeks, made cool by the disappearing sun and held close by woods and fields.
Or perhaps it starts with summers growing up and this particular smell blanketing every experience I have running barefoot through the neighborhood yards, catching lighrning bugs, playing freeze tag, swinging until the sky turned dark and all the kids had to go home. Even then I would open my window and gulp in this perfect air and I, each night, would fall in love with summer evening…butterflies in the stomach and all.
And tonight I sit in Kentucky, hours away from my childhood home, but the air is the same and I still can’t get enough. I’ve moved my pillows to the foot of my bed so that I can be closer to the open window. I sat on the porch late into the evening so make the most of this air that exists only in tiny pockets in hidden corners of my city parks.
All this is to say that I reread The Summer Book by Tove Jannson today and it captures the essence of summer and the magic of childhood and the wisdom of grandparents. Her writing is straightforward and almost sparse, but so right on that no further description is necessary. I have decided that this will be a yearly reread. Last summer I loved it so much that barely had words and could only beg people to read it.
The interesting part is that it is different from other favorites like Anne of Green Gables and Tom Sawyer in that it’s not written for children…the audience is anyone whose heart aches for all that summer is meant to be and for those who remember the goodness of what it was when it was unmarred by work and schedules.
My heart just aches right now in the best of ways.