these are the days

cucumbers and walnuts

These are the days of

air so hot I can’t imagine eating anything but pieces of cool cucumber mixed with cold yogurt, topped with sesame seeds and toasted walnuts.

sprinklers offering feeble amounts, as everyone in the neighborhood is running the water against the 90-degree heat, but the kids don’t care and run through the sprinkles barely hitting their knees, giggling with each other.

children swinging slowly, going nowhere in circles, in a tire swing above green grass.

hours spent slowly at the beach with friends, the children burying each other in the sand, then switching to digging as fast as they can, until they find China, but being happy instead with standing in the hole and resting their chins on the rim.

feet in the grey cool sand, pushing back and forth and back and forth, as I talk with friends but mostly staying quiet as I watch the waves curl in on the shore, not needing to talk because I am where I need to be.

hands stretching toward another red cherry on a branch just slightly out of reach, grabbing.

bowls full of ripe red cherries off the tree from our backyard, waiting to be made into almond coconut cherry crisp.

squeals of delight as the kids jump on a trampoline with a sprinkler underneath it. Their feet make squelchy wet splashes as they slap against the trampoline and they laugh and laugh and laugh.

gluten-free gnocchi just made, on the table outside for dinner, with cold roasted chicken, and suddenly I can imagine eating something besides cucumbers with yogurt.

droplets arcing through the air in the golden sunlight of the backyard, water I’m pointing at my husband hiding behind the magnolia tree, and the spray from him heading toward our daughter, who is drenched from our water fight in 90 degrees, and my skirt is heavy and falling off my hips and Danny took off his glasses and his hair is dripping from the epic after-dinner battle we had with a cooler full of cold water and three cheap toy guns.

evening rides in the car, with a sleepy girl in the back, so wired after being outside all day that she has forgotten how to sleep, so we drive around the island, spying red barns and green fields and tall trees dark against the gloaming light of the sky and horses running and families eating and glimmers of golden light that intensify everything before they fade and barns falling down and women in their gardens and tractors parked next to houses ready for the work of the next day.

Crosby Stills Nash and Young softly playing in the background and our girl’s eyelids start to flutter as she says, “Tell me a story, Mama. Tell me a story.” And I tell her the story of Beauty and the Beast or The Music Man. But mostly, I tell her the story of our day together, to remind her of how much has happened, the adventures we had, and the joy that awaits her when she opens her eyes in the morning.

17 comments on “these are the days

  1. Cynthia

    Do you have a gnocchi recipe in any of your books? I tried one i found online but they fell apart while boiling! :(

      1. Lauren

        You have no clue how happy that comment about a gnocchi just made me. Thank you!! It’s sad when it’s the good gnocchi, the meat and cheese filled ravs/tortellini and not much else. (In the latter sense, it’s that social piece) Cynthia, Whole Foods and Trader Joes sell one that’s relatively good-both plain and sweet potato.
        As good as Shauna’s will be? No but it does the trick in the meantime.

  2. Lizzy

    Perfection. Whenever I need a moment of beauty in my day I know I can always pop on over to your blog and read something that takes me away from whatever daunting task is at hand. Your words spill beauty all over the page and I look forward to those few moments where I can forget the deadlines and lose myself in your exquisite words. Thank you!!

  3. Jeannine

    I don’t have to be gluten free, but I do love good food, and great writing. I have been reading your blog for years because you write so well, and your food is inspirational. Thank you more than I can say for sharing your creativity with the world at large. Thank you, in specific, for sharing it with me. You’ve enriched my world, and continue to do so — thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. Britta

    That post was as beautiful and simple as island living truly is. Now I want to pack my bags and move back there so I can relive it.

  5. Mike

    Ok, I told my fiance that I was going to make a refreshing appetizer/dinner/dessert this weekend.. and you totally saved my life! I had no idea what I would be making but after seeing the cucumber + yogurt treat, I’m shifting gears and trying it out. Thanks in advance!

  6. Margit Van Schaick

    Telling the story of the day was the bed-time story I told ea ch of my three daughters every night. “the little girl with curly brown hair——”, “the little girl with the strawberry-blond hair”, and so on. They would then snuggle down and go right to sleep. You bring back wonderful memories!

  7. Jamie

    We experienced Seattle for the first during those 90 degree days. Texas is our home, so 90 degrees was fairly nice weather for us. I fell in love with Washington and the Seattle area. I’ve read your blog for years now and have wanted to see it all first hand. (In fact, we were seeing friends in Gig Harbor. Imagine my surprise when I saw Vashon Island just across the way!) It was just as lovely as you had said. I felt so “at home” there. I am already planning our next trip!