July 19 was always one of my favorite summer days when I was growing up. That's because it's my Dad's birthday, and we always had fun celebrating his special day. Dad always, always! has the same cake, every year...an angel food cake with sky blue icing. Because of that blue icing, and his beautiful blue eyes, and the fact that he often wore blue shirts to work, AND the wonderful time he spent doing art and number and word games with me in a big blue notebook when I was very small, I will always associate the color blue in its various shades with my father. (It's taken me all these years to figure it out...when I made his card the other evening, I did a collage in all different shades of blue and then had to sit back and think for a while about why I chose the color!). And as I sit here and type, I keep coming up with more things....Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is one of his favorite pieces of music...he introduced me to Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting, awash in gold swirls in a dark blue sky.
Anyway, happy 75th birthday, Dad! I so wish I could be with you to celebrate on your special day. This is a day made for angel food cake, lemonade and tiger lilies in the garden.
I couldn't quite manage all those things today, but the sweet girl and I did have a lovely walk to and from the little library in a gentle, summer rain. And on our way home, we stopped off at our neighbor's yard. She and her family are out of town for a few weeks, and she encouraged me before she left to go there and pick anything that was ripe in her garden. She's also been tending the garden two doors down, of some old friends of our's who moved away several months ago but whose house hasn't yet sold. So both gardens were "up for grabs."
This is heady summer stuff for us, having lived for so many years as apartment dwellers. I never imagined we would be without land or a yard for this long. Even though I know that, for now, we are where God has called us, I still struggle mightily in such an urban setting sometimes (as the Lord knows...I've tried to be honest about sharing that particular ache of my heart with him, as nothing is too small to escape his loving attention). It hurts sometimes to think that, when I was my daughter's age, I spent so much of these warm, summery days running around barefoot outside, climbing trees, grubbing in sand, inventing games with leaves and grass and sticks. She loves the outdoors, but doesn't get much time in it...she's far more familiar with sidewalks than grass.
So to spend a while poking around in wet, growing gardens was sheer bliss. We saw a butterfly; we were just a couple of feet from a rabbit, whose ears and nose quivered when we got close and who went bounding away when we tried to get closer. We picked raspberries (only five ripe so far, but so delicious!). We picked green peppers, and a small tomato, and two more huge zuchinni -- my family is going to be zuchinnied out soon, as we've been eating it steamed and also in bread for quite a while. The grass was wet; everything smelled fresh and clean; and we even saw a tiger-lily blooming in someone else's yard. Not quite the same variety that grew in my parents' yard when I was little, but close enough. Today, I'll take it. With gratitude!