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Kicking It: Summer is here!

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

It is official. “Teachers let the monkeys out.” Summer has arrived!

In our house, summer came thundering down the hallway one morning last week by way of the sweet scent of a freshly cut watermelon. I was too sleepy at 6 a.m. to hear that unmistakable sound of a ripe melon being cracked open, but I was sure drawn to the kitchen for a taste of its juicy, rosy heart. Ya know you have a good one when its pink juice slues down your wrist.

Summer is everywhere. My husband provides a safe haven for many small wild creatures, so from our back slider, it’s a fairy land of activity outside the house.

In the backyard, baby bunnies toddle out from under the protection of the Mexican Sage to nibble seed alongside itinerant song birds. Actually, there are so many birds, sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a sign posted high above marking our yard as a spot to stop by for brunch? Kind of like during the Great Depression when migrant workers would mark a friendly fence indicating a free meal.

It’s not unusual to see birds of all species dive bombing in to flitter between the ground and the overhead feeder before they take a dunk in the birdbath.

Even more fun is to watch the squawky mockingbirds give chase to the crows escorting them across the back fence.

Once, earlier this year, we were surprised when a red shouldered hawk landed smack in the birdbath and took a very vigorous soak before returning to the sky.

We also have bird-parents, possibly pipits, who have hatchlings inside our bird hotel. The babies' incessant clamoring drives their exhausted parents to cater to them all day long.

Meanwhile, two sets of oriole parents have claimed the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder. Alternating between the colorful males and plainer females, these parents alight sporadically draining the contents throughout the day. As it turns out, they have all but chased the wee birds away to find their own nectar.

Just outside my office window, I can see the blossom clusters on the Jacaranda tree catch the breeze. The clusters wave at the sky before raining their petals to the ground leaving a purple rug behind.

Years ago, we had a clothes line added to the sunny side yard and now we mark the beginning of each new week when we slip between crispy-ozone-scented sheets each Sunday night.

Further signs of summer include the preponderance of realtors snapping up neighborhood houses before they even hit the multiple listing services. Commerce is booming.

Before long we’ll be in the heart of record-breaking heat just in time to ripen fields of sweet corn and tomatoes for our tables.

Recently our country celebrated the 4th of July. Did anyone pause to recall what makes this country unique from all others? Why people will risk everything to cross our borders?

It is we, the proud citizens. We are the ones that remove our hats as we stand to salute our flag. We who cover our hearts with our right hand pledging our undying allegiance. We who join voices to sing our national anthem. This is our Country.

“We the people.” We – the ones that preserve our Country. We – who support every word of our Constitution. Not Washington, D. C. Not Sacramento.

We must continue to stand against tyranny from inside our beautiful borders as we protect this land from “sea to shining sea.” God Bless America. We need Him.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at [email protected].


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