K. took off this morning for south Arkansas to celebrate Memorial Day with his family, but I stayed behind to get some things together in the house before our upcoming mini road trip. I was also a bit worn out from Saturday.
Yesterday, we explored the bootheel of Missouri after my student told us about the annual Memorial Day 100 Mile Yard Sale. A quick run for my second iced coffee at McDonald’s and Marc Maron’s podcast as we craned our necks, searching between parked cars, trying to decide if this house is worth stopping. I’m looking for evidence of old people in the yard because they generally have more interesting shit. Do I see any lawn ornaments, faded pink flamingos? I debate and fret over turning around at the sight of a cow skull propped against a card table. K. and I are in and out of the car. I’m finding a rhythm and enjoyment to exiting the passenger side on the steep side of the highway, a few running steps down and a hop across the ditch to the other side. The small stretch it takes to leap over the stagnant puddles feels freeing.
Summer finally hit us yesterday somewhere in a yard in Kennett. It crept in with the familiar boiling southern humidity. In between the crates of VHS tapes and the piles of old Avon bottles, I am swatting flies and haphazardly sorting ancient potholders. I like the risk of a yard sale. I like the hunt for something salvageable. I like how more often than not, I am happy just eyeballing people’s crap they’ve spent all morning dragging out and heaping into cardboard boxes under their carport. It’s the voyeuristic scribbler in me, always looking for a story even when I’m too lazy to write it the older I get. I like working it out in my head as I dig through costume jewelry. I am content walking through a stranger’s front yard, my feet sinking softly into the ground and the smell of CK One as I listen to people haggle. And then, there is summer. Welcome back, old friend.
Summer is something. It makes me restless, and it feels like being young forever. Last year, I exorcised the familiar itch by walking, and as my body became adjusted more and more, jogging. I’ve spent the winter gaining weight because I am prone to hibernating and depression, but it’s time to get back. I’ve never been one for working out in a gym. I prefer to push myself outside until I’m a little shaky and my anxiety convinces me I’m about to have a heat stroke. I like to hit that wall and keeping going. I like sitting sweaty under the ceiling fan and guzzling water until I get chills. I like turning up the music to the highest volume and pushing through the awkward early steps until everything feels automatic. I’m reminding myself of that feeling lately, and I think I’ll try again.
Last summer’s freckles, I’m coming for you again.
Here’s an ear worm to send you off.