The leaves on the trees, barely moving, have taken on a glittery look; golden-green and temporary, not long until dark. Up on the hill behind the meadow the cows and horses slowly make their way down to the weathered lean-to by the pond, where they will sleep tonight. Rumbles of thunder and my father comes out on the back steps to smoke his pipe and listen. We run through the yard because we can. Down the street someone talks in-between the sound of a mower dying down. A dog is barking and the air is growing thick. "You better come in now," my mother yells out the window at us, "gonna storm." Finally at the last minute before the third raindrop falls we slow down and come in the house. The screen door bangs softly behind us.
Our cat is lapping milk. On the stove something simmers. The thunder is loud now. The TV is on, snowy black and white, two channels. My brother puts on a record in his bedroom: Johnny Cash, "Lost In The Desert To Die." It is extremely important to me that my dolls have their hair combed now -- right now. My little bedroom has a ceramic heart tied with a bow hanging over the bed with "Now I Lay Me." There is a framed silhouette. There are wooden plaques on the wall: Jack, Jill, the pail and the well. They are bright colors. The wallpaper is dark green flowers and the curtains are sheer ruffled white. The floor is polished fir.
Next week we are going to Maine. The light is different there, moving in and out of the pine trees. The roads are longer and darker and the nights are cool. The lakes are cold and clean. There is oilcloth on the tables where we eat. The cat will stay out for the week. My brother's best friend will come down and feed her on the doorstep. More flowers will bloom while we're gone.
After supper I want to do my paint-by-number. There is lightning so I don't have to get in the bath tub but my mother makes me soak my feet. Ed Sullivan is on TV and a woman is ice skating on a tiny little balcony many floors above the ground. She twirls like the ballerina in my jewelry box. I think I might want to do finger painting tomorrow.
It's dark. My mother helps me get my summer pajamas on. My father is playing his guitar and harmonica in the living room; my brother is playing Jimmy Dean on his record player -- "Big Bad John." My mother tells him not to play many more because it's getting late. She pulls the blinds. I get in bed. She turns off the light in the kitchen. I hold my stuffed dog.
The milk man will leave full bottles on the doorstep tomorrow. I won't hear him. I won't hear anything now except the traces of melody from my father's guitar and a few distant rumbles of thunder. There are no problems anywhere in the world; it is a summer night and I will see many like this, wrapped up in the glitter of afternoon leaves and the clear world of the day after the storm.