In the summer we were given the gift of living far north. This meant more light.
As a kid, I was very aware of the daily weather. Each morning I would call the weather hotline. It rained a lot where we lived, so the weather determined the course of our days.
A full 60 minutes of extra late evening light each night. Multiply that by three months, comes out to 5,400 extra minutes each summer. We were on it.
A full June to September. Not a day less. We lived the summer together as friends to sundown. Every last hour we wrung our hands around. Every minute clenched and squeezed with summer love. Running until our thighs burned. All in all must’ve been 20 miles a day everywhere. Run, bike, swing, catch, hoop, swim. Repeat. Like our own marathon. But instead of running shoes, we wore the shoes on the sports cards of our favorite basketball players.
When the streetlights were given their mammoth task, we tried to vandalize them by heaving a basketball high up there at their center. If that wasn’t enough we would hook up an industrial high-powered light in order to keep on playing.
Like a wave, like a dance floor, like a roller rink, like an orchestra, a symphony of our neighborhood in our driveway.
4 on 4
then 3 on 3
2 on 2
to one on one
Until it got so dark the ball soaring through the thick air would get stuck up there in the no air conditioner night heat. In its place an orange blood moon. Howling young voices erupting in laughter, swallowing the day like drinking out the backyard house.
Jack C. Buck is the author of Deer Michigan and Gathering View. He lives in Idaho with his wife and their dog.