I love a Southern summer. Yes, it gets warm, but the heat is far better for me than our cold, wet winters. As a youngster, I used to dream about snow and cold. I read books on Arctic camping, and researched the Native Americans who lived in the Arctic and SubArctic. My short story, “Ghost Fires,” is a story set in Canada, in the land of the Cree, and is a result of an idea and my research. That story won first place in the Hemingway Short Story Competition a few years back. But I digress–back to the topic of summer.
The South is so alive in summer–and I love everthing about it. I have memories of hot, muggy, July nights, lying in bed next to my little brother at my grandmother’s house in Ivanhoe, Texas, listening to the small oscillating fan, to the owls, whipoorwhills, and other nightbirds. I remember looking up at that sky, blanketed with all the stars I couldn’t see in Dallas. Maybe it’s these memories that make me love the summer. Perhaps it’s because summer is when I get a short vacation away from teaching apathetic kids and task-master administrators. I do know that my writing always experiences a great surge of energy in the summer. I think that’s the main reason I like summer–I can give my writing more attention. I can travel (if I have any money) and research and read. I love to sit out on my patio with coffee in the morning and iced tea in the evening and read, write, or just sit and daydream. I lived in northern states twice in my life–four years in northeast PA and two years in White Plains, NY. Those were good times, and I was fortunate to be around a lot of good people, and I learned much, but I missed the South. A few years ago, a good friend gave me Willie Morris’s, North, Towards Home. It was a good read. I guess many Southerners have moved north and adjusted, but I don’t think I could ever live anywhere but the South.
After having lived in the Albany, New York countryside for the past 10 or 11 years, I can tell you that I love the change of seasons and the people in this area are as friendly as those of the South. It was a good decision at the time and my life has very blessed here – But I miss Texas every day. It’s a ‘state of mind’ and it is so hard to explain that to people here.