Imagine, if you will, growing up in an old-fashioned sort of family, in an old-fashioned sort of family`s back yard, with trees and grass and flower beds and a hammock strung between two maple trees in a far, shady corner. Imagine you and your friends, when no one else is around, swinging each other as high and as hard as you can, stopping only when one of you swings all the way around and ends up lying in a heap on the grass. – July 28, 1985|By Elizabeth Maupin, Orlando Sentinel
It wasn’t exactly like that but damn close. My friends weren’t really interested in my Father’s old Navy hammock but I was. In the dog days of summer it was heaven on earth lying in the shade of the two maples with a book. Summers back then didn’t seem nearly as hot. Our backyard had a lot of shade, a constant breeze and the old maple was always in motion, rustling, reaching for the sky. I could stay there for hours; my Mother always knew where I was and never bothered me. If I fell asleep in it, so be it.
I’ve been hearing lots of irritable remarks about the summer doldrums lately. I admit I’m not a summer person but this summer seems more manageable to me somehow. We’ve had a lot of rain and my garden isn’t complaining a bit. We’ve had cool mornings that are conducive to coffee on the deck, especially with the overhead fan whirring, which has been practically unheard of in summers past.
I’ve become nostalgic for that hammock several times in my life. My first apartment (a hundred years ago) was a third floor walkup with no air conditioning. The coolest part of the place was my tiny guest bedroom, or as I called it my sewing room. I often fantasized about hanging the old hammock in that room, coming home from work, taking a cool shower and crawling into it with a book. If I fell asleep in it, so be it.
Another time was in my first house. We had a hammock but it was woven rope and it never seemed as comfortable to me as the old canvas one I knew as a kid. It was a shame to have lost that poor thing to old age and rot. If I recall correctly it was my Grandfather who was the one who wound up falling through it.
By the time our family no longer had any ties to the old house the maples had grown over the hooks that held up the hammock and only the memories of it remained. There are days when the heat is high and the breeze is just enough that I would love to crawl back into that hammock and lose myself in a book. That’s no longer an option but the memory of it serves as a reminder that summer is for using less energy, catching up on the slow things and enjoying obligatory lazing.