Today's Fun Monday is being hosted by Jenni at Prairie Air . Here is how she describes the task:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
Share one or more of your favorite summertime memories with us. It can be a childhood memory or more recent. The memory can be a vague conglomeration of how you spent summers past (catching fireflies, playing outside till dark, watermelon seed wars) or it can be a detailed memory of a specific event. You may write a poem or short story or just tell it like it was. The main idea is to communicate the essence of summer and what symbolizes the season in words and/or pictures.
Growing up in a tropical zone, means not being as aware of the seasons as people from the Northern climes. We don't have that overwhelming sense of joy and relief when the first flowers begin to open, because ours bloom all year and about all that we notice in terms of Summer is that it gets a bit hotter and sticky.
One of my most poignant Summer memories however is of time I spent with my father. My father was a stern man, second generation from the old country (in this case Czechoslovakia). He had family values that are no longer in vogue today, pater familias head of the family never to be questioned or contradicted values, not talking during the national TV news (which happened to coincide with dinner time) values and not being bothered when he had just gotten home from work (before dinner) or when he was in his study (which was most of the time after dinner) values.
In addition, he could be exceedingly tender and inspiring, if you could catch him at just the right time. The problem was of course that he was not to be bothered before dinner, during dinner or after dinner.
Unfortunately, (but also fortunately as it would turn out) my father was a terrible worrier and insomniac. He slept less than four hours every night and would work or read until the early hours of the morning. This meant that the best time to find entree to his time was very late in the night.
I suffered myself from frequent nightmares as a child. (In retrospect this makes sense for the daughter of a worrier, but I wondered for years why I was such a fearful thing.) Frequently when I would get up in the middle of the night because I needed to visit the bathroom or because I had just felt the brush of a vampire wing across my cheek, I would find him in the sitting room reading intently. (I now know he was escaping form his demons, but at the time it just seemed this must be the way that Fathers were.)
After a nightmare I would crawl into his lap sobbing and we would usually take a long walk outside, talking and looking at the stars. My memories of Summer relate to the stars, for this is one thing that clearly marked the seasons in our tropical world. Walking in the early Summer night would lead us out under the domain of Scorpio, the ancient Greek constellation of the Scorpion. Ever since the days of camping in Arkansas, I had been terrified of scorpions and thus would take our walks with a hang-dog neck being afraid to look overhead and see that menacing Scorpio reigning supreme. I believe part of my fear is my father's fault as I am not sure he didn't tease me about this fear in the hopes that I would grow resentful and rebel against such silliness, but even today during Summer nights I walk under Scorpio with a residual nervousness and unease.
If I awoke later in the night or early morning our walks would be free of the dreaded arachnid. Instead we would see Orion, the hunter with club raised, whom the Greeks knew chased the deadly scorpion across the sky. Those walks were some of the best experiences of my life. When we talked, we were two friends exchanging fears and philosophies. We spoke of death, of justice, of the petty incidents of the day. Joined by a desire to search out the answers of the universe we would seek the great arc, discuss the possibility of life on other planets or decide on the most morally just actions based on Kant and most importantly we passed that dreaded hour of the wolf banishing our unspoken fears like two hikers taking refuge from the outside storm.
My father died many years ago now, but every late evening when I walk the dog and cringe a bit as I see that Scorpion reigning rampant in the sky, I am with him. Thanks to my father, I know that in just a few hours, Scorpio's star will set and the fatherly hunter will rise and make the night safe for all of us who suffer fears of the dark and unknowable night.