8.24.2009

SUMMER, FOR THE TAKERS


It is chilly indoors and the early afternoon sun is hot. Outside the earth is parched. The back yard calls to me over and over, the sun calling so loudly I almost cannot hear my own thoughts. I open the back door and squint into the late-summer sky. There is dusting to do but I have time, and I walk barefoot to the grass. Every inch of my skin is warm. My feet walk over the harsh grass to the hammock. The dogs are softly woofing under their breath at a neighbor walking by and as I lay there I can feel my bones turn to gelatin in the heat.

Peter Pan sniffs out a worm, digs twice in the brown earth with a front paw and then presses his nose to the ground. He pulls an inch of struggling worm out of the ground with his teeth and, delighted, begins to roll in it; neck first, shoulders next, back and torso last, his feet twitching in the air as he works to get every hair on his body covered in worm guts. Satisfied, he stands up, grass and goo sticking to his fluffy, freshly bathed fur. Later this afternoon I will terrorize him with a hair cut. Already I am feeling apologetic. Barnaby is next, and as he rolls in what's left of the worm guts he pauses for a moment on his back to let the sun warm his belly, his tongue lolling out of his head in what I can only imagine is pure dog heaven.

One by one the dogs take turns rolling in place while I giggle and watch Charlie the hawk fly over the field across the street. He is hunting mice and I remember every summer I have lived here, watching Charlie prowl his turf. I close my eyes and feel the hammock sway gently in the breeze, before jerking violently as Peter suddenly appears and lays on my chest, his nose on my shoulder.

The summer is ending. Soon the sun will disappear for months on end. Students are back in town now and we missed it, we missed the whole thing. But for now the sun is still baking, and while I will have to get a job soon, for right now it is still summer, I am still home in the middle of the afternoon, and I am wonderfully, blissfully happy, laying on my hammock, communing with my sun. This is it, I think. This is what I want to remember about Moscow. I want to remember this little pocket of the year. Heaven on Earth, is what it is.