I go away so often in the summer that I don't see my hometown friends much. Well, it's not totally my fault. They take vacations too. During July and August, people are off camping or visiting friends or lolling about on beaches. Summer time means spending time with family, which includes both extended family and extra kids.
The return of the big yellow school buses driving through neighborhoods means that most people are back to their normal routines. And that means I have time to spend with my friends, even if it's just for a walk or a quick lunch.
Sunday afternoon, Long Beautiful Hair called to tell me she was having a lazy afternoon in her own backyard. I drove to her side of town to join her. Her carefully tended gardens were filled with pinks and yellows and reds, and we took time to admire them before sitting down in lawn chairs to talk. And talk. We walked around her neighborhood, past the brick elementary school that her kids attended when they were little, past the church where she helps organize an apple pie sale every fall, and past the old reservoir with its steep grassy hills. As the afternoon grew cooler, she put the kettle and sat in the yard with hot mugs in our hands, the spicy aroma of tea rising through our conversation.
Last night, I drove with several friends to a poetry reading in another town. "It's a long drive, but we can yimmer-yammer all the way there," Cheerful Poet said as she climbed into the back seat. And of course, we did. As we drove past cornfields with their curving lines and whole fields of goldenrod and neighborhoods of long stone walls, we caught up on the news of our lives. The talking continued as we walked into the sushi bar, where we ordered food and drank big glasses of water and quieted down to listen to poetry.
The featured poet was Fire Ant. Those of you who have seen naked photos of her on my blog will not be surprised to hear that she's often naked in her poems, which included lovely lyrical lines, sensual images, and a whole lot of outdoor sex. "Yeah, here's another kissing poem," she'd say as she moved from one poem to the next. After melting into her poems for half an hour, we recovered enough to each take a turn at the microphone, reading in a colorful room filled with artwork and people gathered around little tables and big sashes of fabric hanging on the ceiling. Then we left the way we came, driving through the night countryside, yimmer-yammering all the way home.