Tonight’s dinner: grilled chicken with fusilli pasta in a creamy herb sauce.
After a busy workday, I realized that last night and into today marks one month of living in my new apartment. For a small impromptu celebration, I grill chicken and cook pasta. I used my favorite copper pot and blue enamel cast iron. I drink a tinge of wine that I’ve had leftover in my fridge. Fresh flowers in autumn colors are in the middle of my kitchen island. I lit a lit candle. Dishes are in the sink. A blue sky is waiting for me to step out and take an evening stroll.
We walked outside at 7:15, the sun had set at 5:30. It was chilly so we laid down blankets and pillows on the grass. You could hear the quiet rustle between the trees.
We laid down under the blankets and our body heat kept us warm. Our eyes adjusted slowly as wel looked up at the stars. They always seemed farther away in the cold.
I was carrying so much tension that day. As soon as I turned my eyes up to the sky with him next to me, the tension started to dissipate. In the middle of November this year, uncertainty is so strong. We had been wanting to go stargazing since the summer, but we made time for it now, as the days have gotten shorter but it wasn’t too cold outside. Looking up at the starry night makes me ask big questions and feel big emotions, most of the time I don’t know the answers to them. This time, it was comforting looking up at something bigger than ourselves. Like we are so small compared to the vastness of the galaxy. Eventually, I could name the feelings of content and wholeness settle over me as I looked at tiny shining specs that were slowly moving across the sky. No matter what happens next week, next month, next year, the stars will still be there every night, a steady reminder that we are small and our creator carries us in His hands. The blackened, starlight night covered us with ease, and I knew everything was going to be okay. I felt at home. This is the wonderful bliss of being alive.
This next morning I woke up and started reading, I came across this quote:
“The sky was enormous, and terribly high. It’s a funny thing, the colder it gets, the farther away the sky seems and the farther off the stars look. The sky was so thick with them it was almost as though it had been snowing stars, and down below us there was a white fog so it seemed as though we were looking out over a great lake. The Milky Way was a river of light…
“We sat there, close, close, and it was as though we could feel the love we had for one another moving through our bodies as we sat there…
“And I prayed, ‘Oh, God, keep us together, please keep us together, please keep us safe and well and together.’”
Labor Day has come and gone. The end days of summer are here and already the approach of fall is upon us. Literally, everywhere I look there are captions and comments of fall in social media posts; Target has brought out their sweaters, long sleeves, and pumpkins in the dollar section; cafes and bakeries are serving pumpkin-flavored coffee and danishes; I noticed that there are a few crumpled brown leaves that have fallen in my driveway. I might have partaken in this joyful arrival of the upcoming season; I mean who wouldn’t? 2020 has been rough, the least we can do is stretch out this wondrous fall and make the most of it. It’s the beginning of the end of a once-in-a-generational year, which also means the beginning of a whole new year is to come soon.
Before getting caught all up in what is to come, I have to acknowledge that this summer was some of the best of times, during some of the worst of times. This summer I was in love with a precious human, my Plus 1. Even during COVID, we did so much within the hot mid-months. We laid in the shade in our hammock while staring up at the blue sky, reading books we got from the bookshop down the street. There were nights we threw pillows and blankets in the back of his car and drove to the local drive-in to watch The Goonies and Dirty Dancing on the big screen. There were lemon pastries baked in kitchens. Film photos taken of us and animals at the Indianapolis Zoo during the sweltering heat, masks on with happy smiles underneath. There were drives through cornfields, stops at gas stations to get coffee, state parks where we hiked and found gorgeous sites, where we got caught in the rain. On July 1, in the heat of summer, we went out to a sunflower field and picked blooms that left yellow pollen on our figures and counters. There were nights where we just sat with each other and talked until sunset, which was around 9:45 pm. There were nights we watched movies, both scary (his favorite) and sappy (my favorite). There was a night where we both got so into the movie You Got Mail that we yelled and the screen when Joe Fox wouldn’t tell Kathleen Kelly that he was the person she was emailing all along.
There was the time, when the city started to open back up, where we went out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate the months we’ve spent together so far. We got dressed up and went downtown to eat stake, asparagus in butter, fancy-ass French fries, and a dessert of cheesecake and champagne.
This summer was a collection of wonderful moments that I dare never to forget, even as we move on to fall and winter. I’m writing about these happy things not because we didn’t have any hardships over the summer, but the joyful moments were found amount all those hardships. Even when things didn’t go as planned, we adjusted and went on. We moved to the beat of the rhythm we found ourselves in and found joy in it. We celebrated and made good memories out of everything that was given to us.
It is this year that I will never forget, because even though it was some of the oddest of times, it was also the absolute best of times. And I am forever grateful.
This weekend, my family went on a camping trip. It was one of two plans my Plus 1 and I have to close out the summer. I logged off of social media and took each moment as they came, enjoying the time outdoors with family. I slept in a tent, listening to the hum of crickets and bugs throughout the night. The morning was one I’ll always remember, waking up as the sun was coming over the horizon, 7:15 am, drinking coffee to take the sleep out of my eyes, walking through wildflowers patches, and seeing the moon disappear has the day came into being.
I’m ready for the sweaters and the colors and the chill that fall brings, but before I completely hop on that train, this summer deserved an ode, because these things and even more I haven’t mentioned are wonderful memories, ones I’ll never forget. Happy end-of-summer to you. Here’s to the golden days.