I have lived in Alabama for my entire 22 years on this beautiful earth. Although I have a lot more to see and so much more to experience, there is one thing in this world I don’t think will ever change, and that is Summer time in Alabama.
There was something magical about the summers that I spent in my home town. As a kid, summer meant baseball and team drinks, and the city pool, riding bikes to the Chevron for coke ICEES, catching lightning bugs in the yard until it got dark, and not having a care in the world. Summer meant sleep overs and staying up until midnight, because that’s what made you cool.
When I was 16 it meant a summer job with the Board of Education and playing cards on every break that we had. Summer meant impromptu trips to Pelham to get Sno-Biz with way too many people in the car. Summer meant Butch’s lake on Joiner Town Road and not thinking about the future because what was the point?
When I was 18 Summer meant last chances and paying attention to what and who I had around me and finally appreciating it. This is the summer that I feel that I truly began to understand what I had when I was growing up and just how precious it was.
I began to notice how beautiful the water was, no matter how murky and brown, and how gorgeous it was when the wind blew over it. I began to notice how water oaks twisted and turned almost in sync with the river that they grew beside.
I learned what a hangover felt like and that Jim Beam could be your best friend but then he could definitely be your worst enemy the next day. I found out how awful a headache could really be and sweating it out was the only thing that helped.
I learned how fun truth or dare could be and I’ll just leave that there.
I started to realize how beautiful my friend’s laughs were and I began to cherish the times that we had together because I was realizing that we were running out of time.
I loved riding in the jeep, we called the Green Pea, more than ever that summer and I loved the feeling of that Bulley Creek mud between my toes every time I stepped into the water to cool off.
I watched the Liberty Day fireworks that Summer with a tinge of sadness in my eyes because I knew that this would be the last time that we would see them together, for a while at least.
I decided that my favorite time of day was a second after the sun set when the sky turned purple and pink, dying the water the same shades of lavender and salmon and you couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the earth began.
I realized how beautiful the stars were and how clear the sky in the country was and how lucky I had been to be able to never know anything different.
I found out that true love isn’t always found in high school and that is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I found that love can build us up and love can tear you down even more. I learned that love can make you crazy and love can make you sweet but it’s usually one extreme or the other.
I learned the, like David, in the Bible, I found peace beside the still waters and I learned I felt closest to God when I was being rocked by the gentle flow of the river.
This was the summer that I learned to really talk to God and what the peace of God actually felt like.
It was the Summer that I said goodbye to my childhood and to some of my closest friends. I’ll never forget the way summer felt there on the banks of the Coosa River and I’ll never forget the way it felt to just exist in true happiness with the best friends that I have ever had.
We all are spread out and live in different towns and cities and go to different schools but when the weather starts to get warm, or when a certain song comes on the radio, or even when the sky turns that certain shade of purple, I cant help but think that they think of that glorious summer that we got to spend together and just for a moment go back to summer in Alabama.