I started stripping off my clothes in the car. It was a hot summer day and I had grass stuck to me every where. Yes, I mean every where. My legs were sweaty on the seat. I had all the windows rolled down and the radio up too loud. I had one thing on my mind.
When you grow up in the middle of no where, back yard swimming pools are hard to come by. But we had a river and when it was running just right, jumping off that bridge didn’t seem so far, and it felt perfect after a day of cutting down hay.
I had taken the afternoon shift in a red swather (or windrower). The seat was hot and the only shade was a small umbrella. I never drew the straw to be in the air conditioned cab. No, only the best for me. I didn’t mind. The sound of the engine and the constant motion of the sickle bar put me in a spell. I ate dirt and swallowed more bugs than I’d like to think about, but I had a plan. I was swimming with my besties as soon as this half of the field was down.
One more row.
I don’t remember how old I was this particular summer. I was some place in between too young but just old enough to be a little more independent. I knew I had to be home a little after dark, but in summer that sun stays up just a little longer just for nights like this. Especially when I was meeting my best friend and we were just swimming, giggling. and dangling our feet off a bridge. Floating.
I can’t tell you a single thing we talked about that time. I am sure it was boy related.
Now decades later, I am driving my baby girl to school, working a full time desk job and trying to be the grown up the world says I need to be. I am trying to save money. I listen to all the podcasts and I am reading everything. Adulting is exhausting.
It’s been a minute since I dangled my feet off a bridge with water dripping off my legs with my best friends sitting right next to me and some days it feels like yesterday.
When you hear that little voice whisper, just do it. Just listen to it a little more. Be a little less concerned with walking the straight line of adulthood. Remember what it was like to scream into the open and take that jump into the muddy water.
I am still the girl dreaming of meeting her besties at the bridge. Cheap sunglasses, bad tan lines and windows rolled down.
I am patiently waiting for Summer on this first day of May. I can feel her coming. She’s taking her sweet time. Montana is known to have her own weather pattern. She is a stern parent and some times she likes to remind you she makes the rules. So up here, we learn to be grateful for when that warm sunshine starts to beat down on us.
I keep my shades up on my dash now and I wait. I wait for that pull to remember what it felt like to feel summer; rolled down windows, cheap sunglasses and Keystone Light. T-tops and late night phone calls to my parents saying I was going to be late; and yes, I knew where my sister was! I just had to go pick her up……..