Each year, summer seems to get shorter. This year especially so. Looking back over the past few months it was busy–a summer well spent in California, the Caribbean, and the great American Midwest. That last spot is my favorite. My Midwest experience is based around Chicago, which is an entirely different city in the summer, and dotted with visits to the wide, open spaces and vibrant colors of Wisconsin.
Fried food, cold beers, and cookouts. Loud music, lazy mornings, and fresh garden salads. Corn on the cob, shimmering lakes, and jean shorts. That’s summer in Wisconsin.
Though I grew up in the heart of a very small town, my best friend lived on a farm a few miles away. That farm was integral to my childhood, and my summers. My two best friends and I spent hours and hours outside, making up games, playing in the barn, naming the animals, running through the cornfields, even swimming in a giant stock tank turned swimming pool. We were obsessed with the riding lawn mower, something that allowed us to practice driving long before we were 16.
In high school we tanned on the porch and gossiped on a ledge behind the silo. The farm was always there for us, as were for each other, even as we moved across the country for college, across the world for work, and eventually all back to the Midwest.
The farm is still the gathering place for our families, but these days we drink with our parents and find them less annoying. We bring boyfriends and husbands, and our baby siblings are all grown up. Around a bonfire we catch up on each other’s lives, jumping to the good stuff without small talk, in the way only 28-year friendships can. Millions of stars glitter above us, packed into the sky so brilliantly for a second we all wonder why we live in big cities where we can never see them.
I don’t do well in winter. I am perpetually cold and complaining about it. Labor Day is depressing to me because it signals the end of pretty much all things good, in my opinion. Fall isn’t so bad I guess, but can’t we go straight from Christmas to April?
It’s 90 degrees today in Chicago, so I guess I shouldn’t get winter blues just yet. And this Labor Day weekend made up for what it symbolizes. Back on the farm, Sarah, Emily, Laura and I drank cheap, American beer and watermelon cocktails, a classy combination. We ate fish caught up north and zucchini pulled from the garden. We talked about life and friendship and all the other sappy stuff. And we revisited our favorite spots in the barn, silo, and cornfields.
Who says summer is only fun when you’re a kid? Hope you all had fabulous summers, even if they were fast. And that this winter isn’t too harsh for anyone. Enjoy the last few weeks of warmth!