This post is in response to a prompt from Kelly at *Weekly Anamnesis.* I like Kelly’s word prompts to help me think of something to write. She is not picky about when someone uses a word. It can be an old word. This one is. I actually posted it on Ducky’s site, Hints and Guesses before I had a blog, but thought I would reprise it here since I need some stuff while I am away.
Evening always makes me think of summers during my childhood in southwestern Missouri.
Being a child, the extreme humidity there was not as noticeable to me as it is now. I really remember no discomfort about evenings at all, though I know there had to always be mosquitoes.
I loved to sit on the porch (front or back) and just look. Look at the trees moving softly in the gentle breeze. Look at the flowers as their colors faded with the light. Look at the cats and dogs playing (not necessarily with one another). Look at the sky as it changed from hot, hazy white to pinks and oranges to deep, star-dotted blues.
Like most children, I could not sit still forever, so I would get up and chase a rabbit, coax the cat to come to me or practice cartwheels. I do not remember when I first started doing cartwheels, but someone instilled in me at a very young age that they must be straight-legged cartwheels. I do not know if my legs were really straight, but I practiced all the time. They felt like they were straight. I remember loving how the cool grass felt on my hands as I did cartwheel after cartwheel.
As it got darker, I would love to return to the porch to sit and watch the sky as it turned dark blue higher in the sky, and yet remained a paler color, even yellow, near the horizon. The color surrounded me, and I became a part of it.
And there were the sounds. The brushing sound of the trees in the breeze. Crickets and locusts and tree frogs. It was loud, but to me it was just ordinary. I took it all for granted. Now I miss it. There was always sound in the country in southwestern Missouri. Bugs and frogs at night. Birds in the day. I remember the first time I heard songbirds where I live now; it almost shocked me.
As I watched the sky get darker and darker, a new light would appear. Fireflies–. something else I took for granted. As they more and more filled the evening darkness, I would jump up from my spot and run to catch them. There were always old pickle jars with holes in the lids by the doors in which to collect them. My brother and I would fill those jars and stare and stare at them, waiting for them to all flash at one time. It never happened, but we for some reason thought it would be so unbelievably cool if they did. So we kept hoping. And watching.
The breeze of evening always felt sublime. The days were hot, and the evenings were reprieve. The light wind was rarely cold in the summer, only soothing. The feeling of the soft air wafting against my skin while watching the sky change from dusk to night might be my favorite memory of summer evenings.
Sometimes I would turn on a porch light and pretend I was singing on a stage. I would grab my jump rope and use the handle like a microphone. It warms my heart to see my daughters doing similar things on the landing of our stairs now. The singing would have to come to an end quickly, however, for the moths would be thick, flocking to the light and getting stuck in my hair.
Maybe I would walk around our large yard and watch how things changed in the waning light. We had lots of trees and flowers. I always loved things that grow, and I loved to see and touch them as the day made its way to a close. Somehow they felt smoother and softer in the cool of the evening.
Then my bare feet might feel something cold. And slimy. My shriek would pierce the peaceful evening. It was time to go inside, with toes stuck together by slug slime. Time to forget the fading light and the mesmerizing sounds and the gentle breezes caressing my skin. It was time to go inside, grab the salt and return (with shoes) for the more barbaric activities of the evening.