What animal did Charlie smell through the open window that made him bark so wildly to get out? He woke me, charging down the stairs with Suzi at his heels, at 5:00 am. Likely, he woke our neighbors too. I am not unhappy. I find plenty to do and dig back into the revision I began last night about my father’s shoes. I get lost in it for quite a while, and then I must finish preparing for my writing prompt for my Wednesday morning writers. I have found three poems about summer foods and these will set up the prompt: Charles Simic’s Crazy About Her Shrimp, Basho’s haiku about melons, and May Swenson’s Strawberrying. First, I prompt the writers to make a spontaneous list of summer foods they’ve enjoyed at any time of their lives. And to be very detailed and specific. It works really well - the lists are delicious and we’re starving and they lead to wonderful drafts of writing about summer memories, relationships and the foods that fuel them. Truly, summer today. As I’m crossing, I take a close look at our field, I like to call it our meadow, that leads to the river. We’ve been letting it grow a few years now. Two years ago we seeded it with wildflower seeds in the fall, but there have only been a scattering to emerge. I walk the meadow, seeing what’s coming, and thinking about what i want to put in. I will buy some perennials to hasten this process. There is a wide patch of dirt in the middle of the grass. I find a scattering of white egg shells, like crushed and cracked open ping pong balls. The snapper’s nests have been scavenged. At least a dozen turtle eggs are eaten, by what? Fox? Raccoon? Skunk? Coyote? Too bad. We walk to the brook and Suzi dips and a beam of light seems to capture her spirit. Awesome. Enlightened, our Suzi. I cut the walk short with Charlie and Suzi – my friend has called and suggested we paddle Farm Pond before our writing group. Irresistible, this offer. I change into my suit and run out the door in bare feet with my bag of clothes and my prompt. I am happy and wet when we start group. The lake is glassy, shimmering, bird filled, lush and green at the edges. After we paddle I plunge in, my first swim of the season in Farm Pond. So, this is how summer begins.