Friday, May 31, 2019

A Summer State of Mind

And just like that, my summer has (unofficially) arrived.

I say that not because of the marathon birthday celebration that lasted all last week featuring stellar meals at Dinamo, Lemaire and Metzger, although it was a fine excuse to debut some of my newest thrift store summer dresses and pack away the leggings until Halloween.

For that matter, surely I could be forgiven for designating this year's first visit to Quirk's rooftop - with posse in tow, several of whom had yet to experience the beauty of Jackson Ward laid out before them from on high - as the kickoff to the most wonderful time of the year, but it wasn't.

And I don't say that my favorite season is upon us because of spending a day last week on the Outer Banks, despite the pleasures of a crabcake sandwich lunch at Frog Island Seafood, a cookout in the backyard of a soundfront cottage and the distinct pleasure of a major first: riding bikes from sound to ocean.

Technically, I could even make a case for the commencement of summer as the first night that required not only open windows (they've been the norm since April) but the additional machinations of the ceiling fan, the table fan and the upright fan, all wafting moving air directly at my bed. But I won't do that.

Another worthy indicator might be the hissing of the sprinkler saturating the continuous waves of flowers - heirloom roses, Asian lilies, Gerbera daisies, dianthus, petunias, clematis, pincushion flowers - in my little front garden. It seems like every time I'm down there moving the sprinkler, a stranger walks by and smilingly tells me some version of, "I love looking at your flowers." A woman with a toddler in a stroller has walked by repeatedly, explaining that she made my block part of her route solely so they can enjoy my garden.

No question, I could say that attending my first Sundown at Scuffletown show earlier this week qualifies as some sort of musical announcement that summer is here. The dusky interludes are one those established things (this is, what, the sixth year now?) I continue to do that never get old because the best things never do. It doesn't hurt that I always run into familiar faces, either.

As new to me as my latest summer dresses, the Billy Bacci Band - keys, guitar, bass and drums - delivered a solid set of keyboard-based indie music as the sun set behind the trees. Even Billy seemed thrilled with the outdoor venue, noting, "This is the best gig ever because I live a block from here!" But is my first outdoor show this year worthy of being the harbinger of summer's arrival? I think not.

What did make it feel like summer without a doubt was - wait for it - Mac and I finally being able to walk the Pipeline.

That it occurred on my birthday only made it all the sweeter. Uncharacteristically, we hadn't been able to get on the pipeline since last October, despite regularly attempting to do so only to find it submerged. Thanks to a record-setting soggy 2018, the pipeline has been partially or mostly underwater for months, depriving Mac and I of our favorite daily walk.

All I know is that as of May 23, the pipeline was back and we could experience the particular pleasures, both sight and sound, of walking on water again. Which means as far as I'm concerned, my season is here.

Let the hot fun in the summertime begin.