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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

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Photo by Ernie Hawks Photo by Ernie Hawks


Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. The song title says it all, or at least we wished it did.

In this season of outward expression the world all around us is blossoming. Flowers—wild and domestic—are starting to give us their colors and fragrances possibly improving on their show from a year ago. The yards are producing at peak yield while, at the same time, the trees are expanding their drip circle as they reach higher into the light.

In one of our outbuildings, a flycatcher is sitting on eggs. In the back yard, woodpeckers are visiting the suet cage, regularly taking beaks filled with the stuff to a nest in the hole of a nearby tree. The swallow nest, near the ridge of our house, is full of life, adding to the rather colorful and noisy but fertile chaos around our house and in our woods.

A couple weeks ago a doe was eating in our yard being neighborly and helping with the mowing. I’ll take help anywhere I can. We were commenting on how round in the middle she was, looking a little burdened, when we spotted movement in her belly. We looked closer and saw it again, and again—a first for me. A few days later, after a rain, I saw a tiny, less than an inch, deer track in some mud.

Our cat spends more time outside, mesmerized by bugs in the grass and trying to be mole control. She can sit motionless for hours waiting for some kind of critter, and then the frenzy of summer explodes in her and she has to run, full tilt, toward a target, until something shiny, or not, appears to attack her little A.D.D. brain and she is off in another direction.   

Watching all this production going on around me is somewhat overwhelming, to the point I really wonder about this “livin’ is easy,” that Gershwin wrote about in his song.

The swallows are accumulating enough air miles for a trip to Capistrano as they catch bugs on the wing; enough to feed the little ones and themselves. The deer are on super vigilant alert protecting the fawns while browsing for mom and the babes. As I said, the woodpeckers seem to be in overdrive, taking sustenance back to the family. In addition, don’t forget all the plants—the trees, grass, flowers and weeds—doing whatever they do in order to reproduce to give us all those colors, fragrances and fruit.

So, I try to do my part of adding to the colorful noisy chaos. I add color by watering as my wife plants annuals, I add to the noise by mowing and cutting our firewood for next winter. I also hope to add some beauty; just as I do the rest of the year, by recording some of the season with photos and continuing to pile words on pages; both activities give wonderful returns but still take time.

However, the added work isn’t all that clogs my calendar; as they say in the commercials “there’s more!” I need to save time for sailing on the lake, camping, hiking, summer trips and concerts. Oh, and don’t want forget the music festivals; you know, those places where people stand on the stage and sing “summertime and the livin’ is easy.”

Easy may not be the perfect descriptor, mostly due to scheduling. Whatever the word is though, it must mean fun, even the woodcutting and lawn mowing. Then, in a few weeks when fall starts to change the colors, the swallows have headed south and the nests are empty, my A.D.D. brain will have had enough of clear sunny warm days, beautiful flowers, babies and days on the lake, and be ready to enjoy another season to photograph and write about.

Now I’m watching our cat—small for an adult—stalk one of those spotted fawns in the corner of the yard. I think she wants to bring it home as a pet.

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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