By Lori Boyd
I remember as a child spending summer days floating down the river that runs in front of my aunt and uncle’s home. Starting upriver, we would mount our rafts and then let the current carry us for hours back down to the familiar red wooden pier. Sometimes a watermelon would be eaten along the way or a stray dog would swim out to share a raft with a lucky cousin. When the heat of the sun pan-fried our inflatable parade, we would slip off our floats into the cool, refreshing tea-colored water. After some swimming and splashing, it was back to the rafts, as the water carried us closer to home.
I love the water. I love that it represents life, and that it so often provides relief and rejuvenation. I love that it manifests itself in diverse forms, but its powerful nature remains the same. I love that it takes me back to my childhood and now plays a recurring role on the summer stage for my own children.
Consider the ocean. The East Coast comes to my mind, as our family shares some of July with other beachcombers every year. As far back as I can remember, I’ve spent time at the beach during the summer months, and it always feels as if I’m visiting an old friend – one of those friends whom you leave feeling like a better person. The ocean seems to energize the spirit and recharge the heart. Jumping waves, swim racing to shore, hunting for sharks’ teeth, diving for conch shells – each salty activity cathartic in its own way.
Imagine a creek. I think of Big Hickory Creek, which runs along the property line behind the home of my in-laws. Many of our summer days have been spent skipping stones across that creek, wading into its chilly waters, collecting rocks along the bank or riding a tube over the small-scale rapids. It’s a happy place, and we always leave feeling refreshed. Someday we’ll borrow one of my nephews’ kayaks and go on a real adventure downstream.
Picture a sprinkler. We have the one with 20 holes along the top that send shots of water into the air while moving back and forth, creating waves of rain in our own backyard. Sometimes it’s dragged under the trampoline sending a spray of water up onto slippery jumpers or strategically placed near the slide on our swing set to create a water slide of sorts. Hours can be spent jumping in and out of that moving wall of water, which can be a waterfall, the secret entrance to another world or maybe just be a sprinkler. Whatever it is on any given day, it’s always a reprieve from the hot summer sun.
Whether it be the salty waves of the ocean, the rippling rapids of a creek, the rhythmic motion of a sprinkler, a favorite fishing hole, a metal washtub in the grass or any other means of getting wet, water is an endless source from which precious summer memories can flow.
About the Author
Freelance writer Lori Boyd also works part time as a registered nurse. She lives in Murfreesboro with her husband and their three children, who eagerly await the summer months and many opportunities for getting wet.