Summer is just over an hour old, and in honor of the Summer Solstice, here (compiled with help from the Child) are the Top 10 Great Things About Summer in the CrazyStable:
10. No radiators hissing, clanking, dripping, and generally reminding us that we owe our winter souls to the gas company.
9. Fistfuls of fresh mint anytime I want it--spearmint, peppermint, and the amazing creme-de-menthe-scented chocolate mint.
8. Lush vegetation in the garden, especially the out-of-control ferns (at least until they are fried in the first heat wave).
7. Watching thunderstorms roll in from the west across the expanse of Prospect Park from the third-floor window and screaming when the lightning gets too close.
6. Sitting in the garden at dusk, watching lightning bugs and waiting for Stellaluna, the little brown bat, to dip in a figure-eight flyover on her evening bug-hunt.
5. Getting Spouse to barbecue, even if it does mean he will stand there worrying whether or not the chicken is done yet.
4. Walking out onto the porch in the morning to the smell of woods and meadows.
3. Cocobop's belly becoming a silver furry solar collecting panel when he takes a sunbath. [N.B. Guess whose entry this was, mine or the Child's?]
2. The breezes coming through our windows (at least 2 in almost every room), luffing the white ball-fringe curtains in the guest room, and creating the summer soundscape of soccer cheers, ice cream trucks, and birdsong.
1. And the Greatest Thing About Summer in the CrazyStable: The mystical collective summer unconscious of Flatbush all around us...Dutch farmers in the field (probably growing tobacco), within sight of the steeple of the Reformed Church around the bend of Church Avenue....British soldiers trudging across those fields towards Battle Pass (in today's Prospect Park) during the August of the Battle of Brooklyn (theoretically, they could have walked through what is now our backyard)...American soldiers, their campfires glimmering as the regiment spends the night camped out on the 19th-Century Parade Grounds, watched by curious onlookers who have arrived in horse-drawn carriages...decades later, on those same grounds, a young Sandy Koufax and Joe Torre play on the baseball diamonds...and, just after World War II, a restless young writer named William Styron, a Southern boy in a rooming house on our corner, absorbs the sights, sounds and stories that he will someday immortalize in Sophie's Choice. In summer, when it gets hot enough to hallucinate, I sometimes fancy that our leafy blocks have time holes, shimmering weaknesses in the space/time continuum where I could step in and tumble back to another era--is it any wonder?