Wheeling through the sky. No moon. Late so not too many lights on other than a few streetlamps. And there it is, the river of faint light spilling from north to south.
It is still warm tonight, here in northern Missouri. The irises are just starting to bloom; my white azaleas glow in the faint lights from down the street. They are already past their prime, but the banks of snow either side of the front steps always attract attention from the amblers we get on weekend afternoons and I have even had people driving by stop and ask what the gorgeous flowers are. I can't take credit for them -- they were here before I moved in.
Although we got no rain here tonight, to the north they had severe thunderstorms. There seems to be a line at the Iowa border and in the summers I will often find myself sitting on my front steps at 11 or 12 at night, under the summer stars, watching spectacular lightning storms high up in the skies to the north. That experience, of being under a clear sky and watching storms far away, is one I remember from my childhood in Kansas. I am a prairie girl, and the storms come along with that. I do take them seriously, but the lightning at a distance is one of the glories of this planet.
We have had very odd weather here this spring. There won't be much left of the spring flowers by the time we get to May Day next week. We have had some hard freezes, but not horribly long ones, and my covering the berry bushes and strawberry plants did enough to preserve them. They don't seem worse for the wear. We are at least two weeks ahead of normal blooming times here, and it feels like summer already (our summers hardly ever include 100 degree days). Soon the semester will be over and the students from the university (by far the largest employer in town) will be leaving. The summer here is so quiet, friendly, and easy. You catch your breath, meet friends at the farmers' market, and go for a movie in the evening.
I saw a student presentation about her internship and she started out by talking about having been in town over the summer last year and how it really was the best thing about her time at college. She found the summer evenings on the square with a band or singers sponsored by the arts association a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the week. A lot of our students come from cities -- the two students in the audience are from Chicago and St. Louis, and the presenter was telling them how wonderful our small town (17,000 people) was in the summer. And the faculty who were there (both of whom are spending some time out of town this summer -- one in Florence and me in Honolulu), both nodded enthusiastically. This is a magical place. You can go out to the lake in the afternoons or swim at the beach there for free. The in-town pool is inexpensive, and the public library is a nice pleasant place to spend the afternoon. The university is very quiet as well, and the library there is empty -- there are sunny tables at which you can spread out your books and notes, and just enough people around you don't feel like you are at the end of the world. Around the fourth of July there are lots of fireworks going on all over and the air smells of gunpowder, the kind that is nice and summery (my birthday is just before the 4th and it feels as if they are celebrating just for me!).
I can smell the summer in the wind, even if there are supposed to be lows back in the thirties later in the week. It is coming and the freezes are probably done. Soon my strawberries will be plumping up and turning red. Soon the pick your own blueberry fields will be open.
Soon my grading will be done.
But tonight the summer stars are beginning to show their glory in the sky and I breathed deeply. Once again.