The hammock is the surest sign of summer I know. The purple, green, red, blue and orange of the Mexican hammock carries stories and memories. It waits and invites. The hammock says stop, rest, read, swing, gaze up into the branches of a tree.  See the boughs. Study the light and shadow that breathe between leaves. Watch them sway against spaces of sky. Time in a hammock allows me to know tree and sky the way Georgia O’Keefe painted them.

There is something wonderful about two women in a hammock, bodies touching, looking at each other from opposite ends of an airborne canoe, sharing secrets while resting against ankles and folded legs. It reminds me of being kids at a sleep-over. The sheer closeness removes formality and barriers. The feeling is revealing and immediate.

Last month I held my marketing meeting with Anthony in the hammock. He didn’t want to leave when it was over. He called his wife, You’ll never believe where I am… in a hammock looking into the forest… Yes, we did work. I love this, I’m going to stay awhile.  I brought him beer while he rocked and soaked in the good juju of the woods. Gib and I perched on a near-by bank enjoying his unexpected pleasure.

In our old house I tied Isabella inside the hammock. I took a rope and wove the net securely closed. We rocked slowly at first, then escalated to broad bold strokes of excitement, until finally she spun in screaming circles upside down, round and round, all the while yelling, “Stop. No!  Faster ~  more. Oh no, no, stop. No ma, don’t stop. I want more.”

I have some friends who talk too much to please me. They move fast and keep busy schedules. They enter the hammock with reluctance, but talk about our visit for months to come.

The hammock is essential. It is as important as floating down a churning river or dancing naked under an August moon.  Summer brings me alive. I find delight where depression used to live, and know who and what I am more fully. I don’t crave the harsh desert light. I don’t want to be baked red in the face. I just want the absence of grey. I want the water to live only in the rivers. I want to be invited outside to play and feel freedom and joy running through my veins, reminding me that I am young at any age.

written 7-2-08