I’m sitting on the porch of my childhood home, or at least the home that we moved into when I was thirteen, just a few blocks from my then middle school, which now, as far as I can remember, no longer exists. The house sits a block off a main avenue, and moving in at 13, it was the first time I’d lived somewhere where I could walk to restaurants with my friends: McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, a snowcone truck, a coffee bar where I drank a few hot ciders in the fall. I remember feeling grown-up, even though I never walked anywhere by myself. But the fact that my friends and I had the freedom to get cookie dough blizzards without our parents, was novel and exciting and, in a way, addicting. Today, I still feel that same thrill when I go somewhere new, and especially when it involves ice cream.

Last September, I wrote about what summer felt like in 2015. 2016 summer has been a tapestry of new and old places: Lopez Island over Memorial Day, where we read books and watched movies and dared to be as lazy as we possibly could; a cold, rainy June day on Whidbey Island with my parents, where I felt the strange realization that I would never get my degree there all over again; fourth of July in Seattle, revisiting Slate Coffee Bar and flying high and crashing on caffeine. This summer, I rode a tandem bike up and down the main drag of my neighborhood in the Fremont Solstice Parade, wearing nothing but a jingly bellydance belt and sandals. It amazed me how quickly our varied, beautiful bodies became normal, and how no one hurried to dress at the end. This summer, I sat on a blanket under a generous sun, eating blueberries and listening to Neko Case sing one of my favorite songs from the past few years, radiating awe and happiness to my core. This summer, I worked from home on long afternoons and canned cherry butter and pickled garlic scapes and wondered what I’d be at this time next year. This summer I spent two nights in an author-themed hotel on the Oregon Coast, reading in a top-floor library with spiced wine in my belly and a fire at my feet. This summer felt like adventure, felt like I could do things, had permission and desire and just barely enough money to do a little living. This summer, I ate way too many thin-crisp fries at Brouwer’s, and drank way too much beer, and fell in love with blackberries, again.

This summer I left Seattle. I cried and questioned and dragged my feet, and yet, in the end, I ultimately left. This summer, I made another life-changing decision, and will spend the time until next summer seeing how it plays out.

What did this summer feel like for you?

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2 thoughts on “What Summer Felt Like 2016

  1. Hi Lauren. I worked with your Mom for 4 years at First National Bank of Sioux City. My daughter was born in February before you in June. Once we left Sioux City, I knew we would probably not be back and it was bittersweet. We were moving closer to what was our home but we had made good friends that we were leaving behind, including your Mom and Dad. My summer has been short. Eventful July with lots of pool time with friends. But August has been spent missing summer already! And looking forward to fall and football. My oldest daughter that was born in 1985 in Sioux City now lives in Brisbane Australia and my youngest just moved 6 hours away to San Antonio. Summer has been spent trying to see her and keep in touch with the Aussie. Best of luck to you and your next year until the next summer. I look forward to reading about your “adventures”.

    1. “Bittersweet” is such a good word for it, isn’t it? Wishing you the best with keeping connected to your kids (wow, Australia!!), and happy end-of-summer beginning-of-fall. Thanks so much for reading my little corner of the Internet. 🙂

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