July 21, 2011


Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.
Oh, your daddy’s rich and your mama’s good lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry…

The dog days of Summer have come to the city of Chicago.  All it took was a few sequential days of 90’s for me to realize it.  As I pealed away the dead, limp buds of petunias and snap dragons, baked brown in the heat of July’s merciless sun, I heard it… The cicadas singing their deafening song, announcing the late arrival of a season that’s been around for a month but has hardly been noticed.  And I felt it… the hot breeze that just barely keeps the sweat off my brow and my thirsty lungs from suffocating.  And I knew it.

Summer in this city is just not Summer to me. 

Yes, I take part in the long, warm strolls down charming avenues with ice cream cones in hand.  
I make my way to the beach and play volleyball like Old Man Winter will never return. 
I even find myself in the dog park, catching lightning bugs in the darkening dusk. 
But Summer is lost.  I think I left it behind when I left Carolina…
The land of warm riverbed squishing between my toes. 
The land of weeping willows draped across dark but … shhh… secretly alive creeks.
The land of water moccasins that we don’t mind as long as there’s a shotgun or shovel handy. 
The land of swelteringly hot but gloriously peaceful sunsets carelessly painted across breath-taking skies.

I see Chicago’s charm and beauty in the Spring and Fall.  But this city seems to skip the romantically wild season that is Summer, a season not found in overpopulated beaches, overheated asphalt, or air-conditioned skyscrapers, but in wind-blown fields running green and white forever, in bare feet doing their best to keep up, in quiet evenings of star-gazing and moon-whispering, in gentle laps of water on the old, dirty bulkheads…

One of these mornins’, you’re gonna rise up singin.’
Then you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky.
But till that mornin’, there ain’t nothin’ can harm you,
With daddy and mama standin’ by…

There’s something so old and sad in that song, some longing that I’m not quite sure I ever knew before.  
     But I think I know it now.

The Perquimans River, my home

N. Carolina's state flower, also part of my wedding bouquet: the Dogwood

Missing Mill Park - Hertford, NC

We used to stare into these trees for hours, looking for eagles' nests.

Perquimans River's famed Log Turtles

Another attraction of my homeland: Shelby Lynn Harrell


  1. Oh Carrie...I agree...

    Thankfully, Chris and I have been able to visit some of that real, "romantic" summer a few times this season. I hope you might visit it before October comes as well!

  2. Oh Carrie--I can't help it--with this vision of you moving back to the land that stirs your heart like Chicago will probably never do, my heart is crying "don't go!"

  3. There were strains of "Summertime" woven through your writing even when you weren't highlighting the lyrics. Soulful. Stirring. Beautiful photos of your home state, too!