summerland

“A baseball game is nothing but a great, slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day.”

I’m listening to Summerland. The book-on-tape (or CD, as it were) is read by its author, Michael Chabon–one of my favorite authors who reminds me why and how I want to write. It’s a fairy tale, a fantasy about baseball and the adventures kids have and how things got to be the way they are; it’s swirling and ridiculous and it’s silly, but so appropriate as a backdrop for my drives and criss-crossings all over Los Angeles County.

It is summerland, now, these days; all around, hazy-slow, full of summerland things that exist equally as memories as present happenings.

We used to go to the grocery store every Sunday, the mom, the sis, and I, and in the summers, we would buy pints of Dryers ice cream. Mint chocolate chip, and when we would get it home, before it was put in the freezer, we’d peel off the cardboard lid, hover over the pint with heavy spoons, and scoop out great heaps of the delicious foamy ice cream. “Girls, wait for dinner,” Mom would say; “But. It’s the foam!” we’d say. Because, of course, the only time you would find this foam-cream top of mint-chip was in the afternoon, on a 90 degree day, when the ice cream was fresh from the store, fresh from a hot car ride home. You couldn’t just take the pint out of the freezer and let it melt; it’d get goopy. Only now.

Well you can see where this is going. I bought a pint of Dryers Chocolate-Brownie Frozen Yogurt today (when I was a kid I never read nutritional labels, but sadly I now do.) And, an eight minute drive home later, there was a perfect layer of dense-fluffy chocolate summerland foam. And, so I didn’t wait for dinner, and I didn’t get a bowl, but stood there in the kitchen with a spoon and scooped the layer of foam right out of the pint.

Summerland is also Sunday sunset runs (at 8 p.m., in new running shoes!) and banana peanut-butter smoothies. Poolside heat, flying off a springy diving board, crashing into water. Friends and late beers on warm nights, and the hydrangeas blooming and then wilting into sweet brown mush. Maybe summer itself–expansive days and slanting light–is the contraption for getting us to pay attention to the cadence of a day, of any day.

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