We had a frosty, cloudy, blustery winter in Page this year followed by a cold, windy, rainy, overcast spring.
We had a few warm, sunny days in April that lured us outside and reminded us of the glorious days of summer we hoped would be arriving soon. My wife, daughter and I took advantage of the few warm afternoons and took slow walks through the desert and our neighborhood enjoying the sunshine.
But the next day I attended a high school softball game where the fans were bundled in blankets against the icy wind which carried plagues of red sand from the desert across the diamond, and reddened our faces with a hundred sand stings.
After five months of cold, rain and wind I’m ready for summer.
I’m ready to have friends over for a backyard barbecue. I’m ready to take the boat onto Lake Powell and explore some new sidecanyons. I’m ready to wear sandals and sun shirts. I’m ready to catch some five pound stripers. I’m ready to have a fish fry. I’m ready to paddleboard, kayak and swim. I’m ready to hike, camp and expand my daughter’s horizons.
I miss the sun. I miss the smell of sunscreen.
I’m ready to view constellations under warm July nights. I’m ready for roadtrip hotdogs and backwoods s’mores. I’m ready to feel the season’s first sunburn on my shoulders, and the season’s first quad burn as I backpack a new trail somewhere in Gateway country.
I’m ready to hike until my cabin fever just evaporates, like rain on summer asphalt.
I’m ready to open my windows and let the warm summer breeze blow across my bed carrying with it the smell of tamarisk blossoms and the sound of chirping crickets.
I’m always excited for summer to begin but I’m particularly looking forward to this summer. I have a daughter who is two and a half years old and this summer, if all goes well, my wife and I – and her grandparents too, I’m sure – plan to introduce her to several new firsts. We plan to take her on her first fishing trip, her first boat-camping excursion on Lake Powell, her first time on a stand-up paddleboard, her first trip to Moab, her first trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
I’m ready for less Netflix, more campfire stories. Less screen time, more serene time.
I’m ready for ice cream cones, naps in hammocks and those colorful monsoon sunsets.
I’m ready to trade ice on my steps for ice in my lemonade, gray for green, winter frost for summer dew.
I’m ready for the smell of campfire smoke, pine trees, fresh-cut grass and outboard exhaust.
I’m ready for the drone of bees, the scream of line peeling off my reel and the crack of ice trays.
I’m ready to eat cherries straight off the tree and tomatoes straight off the vine. I’m ready for Green River watermelon and Hatch chiles. I’m ready to partake and share the bounty of summer.
I’m ready to plant my bum in a beach chair, bury my nose in a novel and dig my toes in the sand.
I’m ready for summer.