High Summer

It is high summer here in the south. Most days hit 90 degrees plus, even in the shade. If you want to do anything and you don’t want to get wet, you know to do it before 4 pm. Otherwise, those “chance of afternoon thunderstorms” from the weather forecast are going to pop up right where you happen to be. Those storms can be gully washers, and occasionally will spawn hailstorms, tornadoes, and lightning so close you can smell the sulfur and feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. If it hits very close, you may be rendered momentarily deaf from the explosion. If it hits even closer, you may find yourself ordering a new big screen TV, computer, and any other electrical appliances you happen to have in your home. God forbid, if it hits any closer than that, grab your babies and cell phone and run for your life as you call 911 because your house is most likely on fire, even if you can’t see it. 



Another common high summer inconvenience can be any number of things that can happen because you’re going barefoot. Ah – for all the pleasures of John Greenleaf Whittier’s The Barefoot Boy,  there exist just as many dangers. These dangers can be as mild as a splinter or a thorn in the tender flesh of the sole of your bare foot. Or, they can escalate exponentially into the just gross category or the truly deadly category. In the gross category, if you have never stepped barefoot on a garden slug, you just don’t know what “icky” is. Even worse, if you’ve had the misfortune to step smack in the middle of a pile of fresh warm dog poop hidden in the grass, you really can’t grasp the true meaning of gross.  Somewhere in between gross and deadly are the painful, but only potentially dangerous events. Step on a broken piece of glass, make the mistake of trying to cross a street that’s been baking in the sun all day, or step on an upturned rusty nail in a scrap of board and it is a feeling you will remember forever. Ask me – I know. What I don’t know from personal experience, praise the Lord, are truly deadly barefoot emergencies. Oh, say, like stepping on a copperhead, a yellow jacket nest, a fire ant mound, or any other number of creepy crawlies. Worth the risk of that cool, luscious feel of thick grass on a hot day? You will have to decide that for yourself.

A final high summer experience not usually fraught with too much danger and discomfort (even though that possibility exists), is some form of water entertainment. Everything from running through sprinklers to “playing in the hose” to public swimming pools, to summer vacations at the beach come to mind. Mostly, as a very small child, it was the hose or a creek. The dirt yard did not require a sprinkler, and pools and vacations cost money. I barely remember we would drive a few miles, cross a rickety old bridge and park off the road near a half mud/half sand beach. There, Sweetwater Creek’s mysterious dark water harbored rocks, fish, and who knows what all kinds of trash and deadly drop-offs. Amazing we managed to survive. As I got older, I could scrounge enough money to go to the public pools, and the family would sometimes go on outings to Lake Spivey, Rock Hill, and High Falls. Eventually, summer vacations to Florida became the norm. Now, I have a luxury I only dreamed of as a kid, my own backyard pool. And I truly do love it.



What are your favorite high summer activities? Do they involve storms, going barefoot, or water? Whatever they are, enjoy them while you can. Summer is only a brief interlude to be savored or endured, depending on your perspective. As for me – I intend to indulge every degree of heat, every drop of water (no matter its source), and maybe, if I can find a patch of it, I will venture to tread barefoot on verdant, cool, luxurious grass.




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7 Responses to High Summer

  1. Dan Pendey says:

    Best guess is I never wore shoes until I started school at age 6 because school system demanded it, ha ha. I have 4E wide feet and Podiatrist said barefoot not the reason, I beg to differ. Mother would let us play in the rain until the first sound of thunder. Oh the feel of mud oozing between the toes! A very different feel between the toes when visiting neighbors with horses, cows, bulls, pigs, goats, chickens, etc. LOL Parents saved up to buy us 5 boys and a girl a Slip N Slide, WOOHOO! By the second time it was used we wore that sucker out and had a ton of fun doing it.
    We never thought of ourselves as poor due to the abundance of love from Mother that was showered on us kids into our adulthood. Material things are nice and sometimes necessary but my personal Precious Moments are what I treasure the most. End this with a quote: We do not remember days, we remember moments. Cesare Pavese

    • georgiajanet says:

      So true. It is not the things we remember but the moments.

      • Dan Pendey says:

        Music that I thought of when I first read this topic and forgot to add in post. Fishin’ in the Dark-Nitty Gritty Dirt Band–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u7-Ht05v2M Read the lyrics, say it all. Wish I had wrote them, worth hearing again.
        Song starts out with:
        Lazy yellow moon comin’ up tonight
        Shinin’ through the trees
        Crickets are singin’ and lightning bugs
        Are floatin’ on the breeze
        Baby get ready

  2. Monsieur Robert says:

    A few moments in time are being recalled thanks to this post! One from my childhood, two or three from my days at University of Georgia.
    When I first read GeorgiaJanet’s description of being “barefoot on verdant, cool, luxurious grass” I did not understand. Why if it is scorching hot and humid would a lawn ever feel cool and refreshing?? Is the author suspending disbelief so that to sell to her readers who merely endure the summer rather than embrace it??
    The following day I asked myself these two questions again. It did not seem logical.
    Well, soon after I envisioned a moment in time that concludes that the author was right to make this assertion and claim. Defying logic, indeed.
    Alas, the summer of 1995 reappears! It was extremely hot in Athens, GA. Furthermore, it had not rained for 22 days straight. The heat was smothering, almost overwhelming in both the early mornings and late evenings. I recall how restless and anxious I felt, a man who has never been able to appreciate July or August.
    Then while finishing lunch and watching the Weather Channel in the comfort of an air-conditioned living room, there were strong storms approaching Atlanta that would plausibly continue east, northeast. The meteorologist, in a tone of joy, relief rather than the usual caution, stated that we would likely receive moderate rain, high winds and a drop of temperatures of 20 degrees.
    Around 4;30pm, the rain and wind graciously made its presence after such a long layoff! I danced in the rain and, indeed, the grass felt “cool, luxurious” as the author exclaimed. Suddenly it was about 74F, the sun was not shining and I was soaking wet and relieved; only wearing shorts, barefoot, with a smile on my face, I felt free.
    Rest assured that I was not the only uni student outside soaking up that moment in time, when the stifling heat quit North Georgia in July or August of 1995.

  3. Linda says:

    Brought back lots of memories…we couldn’t wait for the day that Mother would start to let us “go barefoot”! It was a big deal each year, and we got our love of it honestly…Mother rarely wore shoes outside or in during the summer months unless she left the house. I can still remember the freedom it afforded when the grass touched our feet each year…life under the big oak tree had begun for the summer!

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