From my balcony right now, I find myself surrounded by growth and life, from the buzz of a fly to the cheep of a blackbird across the fields. Summer is here in all of her fullness, swollen with heat and rain, bursting with plants, food, and life. My cat keeps me company out here, stretched out on a chair in the semi-humid breeze of a July afternoon. I do my homework, sporadically looking up to watch the leaves of thousands of corn stalks sway and flutter, like a vast undulating sea of green water, never still, always moving. It’s July already.
I think on the summer so far, of watching fireworks from this balcony with Nathan, huddled under a shawl against the unnaturally cool July evening. It has been days of satisfying work and getting through school, punctuated with memory-making, sweet as a ripe peach. Exploring the Art Institute with a dear friend while baring our souls on a train. Looking out on the swollen Mississippi with two of my best friends. Meeting my mom for ice cream. Watching a best friend walk up the aisle to her new husband. Spending days at a living history museum with my sister and family, pretending we’ve gone back in time. Reading more Barbara Kingsolver. Picking up fresh vegetables from a local farm, my arms laden with greens and beets and summer squash galore. Dancing with Nathan. Baking my birthday cake with my friend’s sweet little girl.
I find myself giving thanks much more during the warm months, when the world is luscious and generous. Today, I’m thankful for fresh food on my plate and warm breezes through the screen door. I’m grateful for support systems, for the friends and family I don’t deserve who care for me in big ways and in small. I’m thankful for morning sunshine, little adventures, driving through farm country, zucchini muffins. I breathe in the world around me and exhale my thanks, wrapping myself in summer’s glory, in all of the possibility she offers.