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Essay: Summer Fun

Walking outdoors on a summer morning, I uncoil the hose and turn on the faucet.  Then I bend to inhale the wet, metallic smell of water pouring out of the nozzle—grateful for things that do not change.

In an instant, I am in the front yard of the bungalow where I spent my first seven years.  Growing up in land-locked Grand Rapids, I had no sandy beach or rolling waves for summer fun, just a small patch of green grass—and a sprinkler.

With my friends Heidi and Tom, I spent happy hours making up games with these simple ingredients.  Depending on the design or the setting, the sprinkler might twirl rapidly and throw hard pulsing sprays or just rotate back and forth in a great gentle arc. 

The goal was to race across the grass and plunge into the icy-cold water, jump over the sprinkler without touching it, and burst free into the sunshine on the other side.

It took all the courage I had to propel myself into the cold spray.  And what I didn’t know then was that life would never stop demanding of me all the courage I had, never stop asking me to be braver than I thought I could be. 

Not yet anyway.