Crunches mix with the sweet juices released with each bite of fresh white corn. This reminds me of the fresh ears I would buy after a day of soaring in Warner Springs. Picking out a few at a crossroad farmstand, I’d get a bag with the avocados just picked off the nearby trees that were also a steal .
Friends make fun of the way that I eat corn. I like to plow through the kernels row by row like a typewriter. No one ever made fun of how Ernest Hemingway ate his corn, I’m sure. Okay, maybe there’s a huge difference between the prolific writer who embodied manliness, and me. But, hey, give a guy a break!
On the drive up, I had noticed the makeshift shack for selling local crops about halfway to the airport. I snapped out of my daydream.
Things had gotten complicated in my life between work and family. I was glad to leave it all behind, if only for a bit.
Driving between hills covered by remnants of some giants’ boulder wars, I got lost on the rural two-lane that snaked between hordes of avocado trees descending on the surrounding valleys.
Breathing deeper and taking in the warm Southern California sun put me into a zen state of mind. Only the thought of dinner plans broke this trance.
The engine whirl of a climbing white and goldenrod Cessna made it clear that I was getting close to the airfield, where I’d meet my instructor.
When I wanted to forget about budget reports and Powerpoint presentations, these weekend mini-escapes were just the cure. No obsessing about bills or child support payments – just finding lift among the red hawks.
It’s amazing – the things that humans are able to do. Put together an aluminum can with wings, tow it with a rope.. and FLY!
At the same time it’s funny how we have to take lessons, get certified and signed off on what birds do naturally with hardly a thought.
Funnier still was that my instructor was really a kid. Younger than me, he was also much more laid back than the hardcore instructor pilots back in navy flight school. But we still briefed and did our pre-flight checks in much the same routine as the military.
But, unlike the lunchtime patterns of showers in Pensacola, Florida by which you could set your watch, Warner Springs really had only two shades of summer – hot and hotter. So, the trick was to drink more water than what escaped your pores. If you didn’t crumple into a dust heap by the end of the day, then somehow you succeeded!
On the way home I had to stop off for a slice of pie at Julian. In spite of the heat the warm smell from inside the shop still made my mouth water. Fresh out of the oven, the crusty delight of berry goodness easily melted the frosty scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Racing the sun that was quickly disappearing behind the surrounding hills, I stopped off for my dinner ingredients. At the time I had no idea that what I was really doing was making summer memories of my time in San Diego.
It’s funny how moments like these seem so ordinary at the time, and it’s only later that we polish them off for the gold within.
What summer memories are you making right now?