OMG, it’s June…summer sun, sweat, sandy beaches, sweet tea, and Slurpees…this year a languid slide replacing the frenzy of the regular routine…remember bursting from the schoolroom doors, cheering the arrival of the long vacation? With all things virtual that have filled our days, how, I wonder,  will it go this year?

Now, I do live in Ohio, so counting on normal on any given day is a little like playing craps. You shoot for a temperature point and hold your breath. This Memorial Day Weekend has been a bust…overcast, cold, dreary, not the celebratory opening to summer we Buckeyes dream about. Summer in my younger days meant the opening of the Struthers swimming pool, our town’s gathering spot for all ages throughout my entire childhood. The pool is gone now, nothing but a faded photograph in an old album and a memory of carefree times. For my siblings and I, the pool spelled magic, a ten-cent, all-day entry into joy. It rested at the bottom of a hill, hidden from view unless you knew it was there. I grew up in that watery bowl, taught swim lessons for the Red Cross, held my first job there working the admissions booth when I turned sixteen.

As spring ends its season and summer wanders in, I check the garden, this year a study in contrasts. While the strawberry plants are producing handfuls each day ( I don’t have a large plot), the peas I planted are hit and miss. Those few closest to the house have set their blooms, but most of the others have barely broken through the soil. All were planted at the same time in the same dirt. Despite my constant improvements with compost and manure, development is an issue. Hmmm…reminds me of writing in a pandemic year.

How many times do we jot down an idea, imagine a storyline, then wait for the tale to develop on its own? If you’re like me, the incidence rate is extremely high while the fruition data remains low. I have more plots than I have years left to live. At some point, I must allow the natural selection process to assume command. I use science to explain the lack of growth rate in my garden plants. It’s not such a long leap to apply that to my writing. When I taught full-time, summer became my most productive time. However, this year I am challenged by the needs of the family, by chores delayed, by the pile of books on my to-read shelf. What I need, desperately, is Miracle-Gro for writers, a product that can be used to coax, cajole, and goad my productive juices into a higher frequency.

The long winter of COVID has depleted the reservoir. As I slink into summer, I renew my commitment to grow those lovely ideas into stories, poems, and novels that satisfy my natural instincts to develop and blossom.