For two last weeks the temperature has dipped into the low single figure digits. No wonder I am dreaming about tanning, about being blanketed in the glow of the summer’s glowing sun. No doubt that would be a pleasure, a slice of holidays, one of the many take-it-easy joys of summer. When I was a kid, I recall stretching out on the grass. I had nothing to do but listen to the sounds of nature around me. Fifty or so years later I am retired, and I can do that again. Even in the winter many gray-haired people become snowbirds and fly south seeking the comforts of the summer sun. It’s like those times are a reward for all the hard work done.
As a writer I see summer joys as a tension breaker, a chance for a character who is under a lot of pressure to unwind. Those tranquil settings serve as a sharp contrast from turmoil times. The gulf between those two times serves as a motivator to struggle toward summer’s normality. Who would not seek such a heavenly embrace?
Answer: Jill in my novel, Baggage burdens. In the excerpt below share Jill’s tanning joy. Shortly she’ll choose to give up this “heavenly experience.” Consider how great she expects the pain to be from news of a perceived coming threat.
In the second excerpt enjoy Joseph’s summer sound symphony. Then anticipate the depth of the disturbance that is on his horizon.
By early August, Jill is very thankful for Josey’s rescuing deeds. They far exceed her wildest hopes. For the last five weeks, Jill had worked hard on her English course, which her grandmother arranged by enrolling her in a summer course in Brampton. Exams are finished. She aced that course. In celebration of her success, she claims the upper veranda deck at her grandmother’s redbrick house in Brampton for her private sun-tanning haven. Singing wind chimes that hang from the soffit at the end of the deck sooth her spirit.
As her grandmother’s Santorini mobile souvenir comes into focus, she sees a light blue boat with white sails gliding in the late-morning breeze. Half a dozen glistening glass dolphins suspended from the bottom of the boat with an almost invisible tackle line, dart about as if they’re playing in the sea. Eight silver, pencil-thin metal pipes dance around, ringing out their laughter like children on a summer beach.
“Ah, heaven! I could stay here forever,” says Jill, reminiscing about her summer. Hearing her words of joy urges Jill to praise her grandmother next time she visits.
Draping his loose shirt on the back of the cedar chair, Joseph sits down and soaks in the heat from the hot seat. With his head resting on the back of the chair, he stares at the blue sky. It’s a perfect afternoon to stretch out on the lounger. He moves there.
The slamming back door announces Jill’s arrival. Looking up, he sees her ponytail bob back and forth out of her cap. The way she carries the tray with a pitcher of cold lemonade and two glasses brings an image of Jill working in the bakery. Once he dared hope that Jill would do the same at his place. His dream is now reality.
‘I’m really blessed,’ he thought.
Joseph feels like he’s on a holiday. He imagines sitting at a resort in some hot spot like Mexico. ‘No. This is better,’ he concludes. Remembering he has work to do, he rationalizes. ‘After an hour, I can still return to my garden. I haven’t spent a cent, but I’ve enjoyed a mini holiday.’
He slumps back in the lounger and drinks in the nature around them. Birds chirp in the spruce trees, a distant plane drones overhead, and a car drives slowly down the road, and a fly buzzes by his ear. He flicks it away. The neighbor’s dog adds its voice to nature’s symphony. Then the lemonade splashing in his glass opens his eyes. Jill stands above him, her hand holding out a glass. She fills her glass. The pitcher is close to the glass. He guesses she poured his lemonade to catch his attention.
“It’s so peaceful out here,” she says.
Jill sips her drink, wondering how Joseph will handle the challenge she is about to pose. When her glass is half-empty, she starts.