when i was a kid we had a small garden box in the cool back corner of the yard. most summer days i could be found there, squishing my toes in the mud, watering curly green beans and enormous sunflowers, chasing lizards away from the sprouts and stowing away caterpillars in the pockets of a dusty blue dress. i plucked the ripest yellow tomatoes for dinner and devoured half of them before going inside. the summer garden was magic. no one could have told me otherwise.
the smell of earth and vine, the heat of the arizona sun on my freckled nose, the way the light changed through summer monsoon clouds and the sense that though sweltering, it was always just about to rain. the moments are as fresh to my senses now as they were then.
now i am grown up, and summer’s magic has begun to dwindle. work does not cease, and the sun feels less embracing than it did when my hair grew long and lemon-kissed and my feet ran barefoot, searching for cool grass or mud to squish. but each time a ripe tomato-on-the-vine finds its way to my hand, i am the same as i was then. i inhale slow and deep the smell of summer, the soul of sprouting things. i am seven and everything is light. for a moment, i am my best and brightest summer-self and everything is magic once again.