Summer is in full swing. It’s July 4th already, and the weather has been cooperating. I’m writing this post from our deck at 7:20 p.m. and it’s about 84 degrees. One of the expected benefits of the new house has been the beach access. Last year we only swam in the bay once or twice the entire summer. We’ve been in the water every day this week. Our beach is rocky for about 150 yards, so rock-socks are recommended. But then, just before the floating raft, the lake floor turns to sand.
We’ve bought a dog cable that can be screwed into the sand, so that Yogi can lounge in the shallow water while we swim out and jump from the raft. He enjoys the chance to cool off and doesn’t miss us too much!
One of my favorite things to do, once I’ve acclimated to the water temperature, is to swim low along the bottom of the deeper water – at the bottom of seven feet or so. The water is much cooler down there, and even more refreshing on these hot summer days.
Earlier today, we drove up to Leland to shop around. Mom and dad met us for lunch and to watch the parade pass. There were amphibious cars in the parade, and Lindsey commented that she’d love to see them go in the water. Well, as luck would have it, as we were walking back to the car past the Bluebird restaurant, four of the amphibious cars were driving into the river and motor-boat-caring around. It was very cool!
Happy 4th of July to all of our friends and family, and we hope that you’re having as wonderful of a summer as we are!
Gaze about from where you stand. Spin in circles ’til you’re dizzy as a child exiting the best merry-go-round ride she’s ever had. Look up at the humongous sky above and wonder aloud what’s beyond the antique clouds and shimmering stars. Watch the yellow leaves fall and remember it was a hot and dry and brilliant summer that left us with more than a handful of memories. And then, in good time, when the wind blows hard down the paths that we happen upon and the warmth has dissipated, take another moment to wrap the textures of life all around you like a hundred blankets quilted from everything that’s so much bigger than any single one of us could ever imagine. Remember summer. Enjoy fall. And look forward to all that is to come.
My 2L year is looming as the remainder of my summer plays out and without a class to study for I’m finding myself to be flat out bored. I can only read the same news stories so many times before I want to fore-go all information intake. My new apartment does not have TV or Internet yet, which basically leaves me with such old-school and repetitive activities as reading a book or sweeping the wood floor a third time.
Moving is always interesting. Different translates into good, even when it’s just different. My new apartment has wood floors, which I really like. But I know I’ve walked into an apartment before and thought that I would really like wall-to-wall carpet. I don’t have a dishwasher or a washer and dryer. Instead of interpreting these as downsides, I tell myself washing dishes will be a bonding experience and going to the laundromat will give me time to escape my studies for an hour or two (until winter of course when I’ll find myself preferring to wear my boxers inside-out for the third time to save myself a trip in the cold).
I truly like my new apartment and while the moving is nearly complete, we have no furniture. Top of the furniture-to-be-acquired list is a couch and a table of the dining room sorts. When these two items are installed the living room and dining room will be magically transformed from storage areas to distinct living spaces.
I’m looking forward to the school year. Having 1L over with is a tremendous relief. Moving into a more suitable living environment will greatly increase my day-to-day routine. And when I do have Cable and Internet and a couch to use them from I’ll be the happiest guy alive – at least until it’s time to move again and I decide that I need a dishwasher and carpet to be happy.
Summer CHIPSI classes ended today, which is a good thing. I wasn’t as pleased with them as I had hoped to be. The subjects had potential, and some came through. But there is / was definitely room for improvement.
We have a day off before exams start on Wednesday and end on Friday. After that, we’re free for the rest of our stay here in China. And free to enjoy the remaining few weeks of summer back in the U.S.
Closing dinner tonight. Despite the difficulties of getting situated over here, I feel like it was just yesterday that we were trudging through the rain to the opening dinner.
The back deck was fun. We were sitting under the pines standing tall above the roof of the house. I liked to look up and try to see the sky. The table was gooey in places and I had to watch what I touched. Sticky fingers – like someone rubbed marshmallows all over.”Chris, say grace so we can get started,” mom said.
For a little bit I looked around to make sure that everyone had their hands together and heads down. “God is good, God is great. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we must be fed. Thank you, dear Lord for our daily bread.”
And when I finished, we all said, “Amen.”
I looked up fast – before everyone else, as if to check that we were all still there. Mom and dad were by the grill. My little sister sat still, dwarfed by the ugly yellow deck chair.
“Grandpa, how’s the baseball on TV?” I asked. He was sitting at the end of the table with his wooden cane hooked on his chair. I looked his way and my dark head of hair followed.
He muttered for a moment then said, “Who’s so tall they couldn’t see?”
“No. How’s the baseball on TV?” “Oh,” he said, still not answering. He was playing. But I guess he didn’t watch the baseball either. It was static in the background during his nap. My mind moved on. The grill smelled good, but I really just wanted to make s’mores.
7am – the alarm goes off. Buzzing. Not music. Music never worked for me. Not since I started waking up on my own. The covers are off and I pull on my swimsuit in seconds. It’s a summer morning and I’m going swimming. No shower. Showers don’t work in the summer because the bathroom gets hot. The water fluctuates and then I’m tense before 8am. Not good.I bike to the lake, only a quarter mile away. My towel is around my neck keeping my bare chest warm. I take the easy route, down the hill to the left of my driveway and bank hard around the right hand turn. The wind feels fresh on my face. Most of the neighbors aren’t out yet. They’re still sleeping or drinking coffee in their kitchen alcoves. I don’t know. Their sprinklers are on.
The sand is cold. The water is still until I step into the waters edge and watch ripples radiate out towards the rising sun. There’s an orange glow that softens to yellow as it rises into the scattered clouds. There is a silhouette of a sailboat to my left. It is still. Gray. Taller and perpendicular to the horizon. It’s the left margin of my morning. To the right is a dock. Part old and part new. This is easy to tell. The new wood is yellow. The old, gray.
I’m only testing the water. I don’t walk in. I jump. I walk out the dock stepping around seagull droppings and holes large enough to catch my large toes. The dock sways a little – like I’m on a boat. I find the spot where I hid shampoo on a shelf under the dock and drop my towel.
The morning sounds have been limited. An alarm. Air racing by on my bike ride. A car driving by above the beach. The crunch of rocks under my feet. The creaking of the dock.