My co-worker and I started a wine club. When you carpool with someone for four hours a week, you have not just the time to come up with such ideas but also the time to actually follow through with them. We’ve been mostly consistent since January, and I’ve been impressed with our small gatherings. We pick a theme, everyone brings a bottle, and we try to be semi-educational while still having fun.
Our June wine club was particularly memorable. We started at Eli’s barbeque, which always results in good things. After cleaning our plastic baskets and sampling a few wines, we moved our get together to another co-worker’s place a few blocks down. He lives near the river, and we took an evening stroll along the banks. Sipping wine and chatting, we all became quite oblivious to the growing storm in the distance. It wasn’t until we had just turned back after about a mile of walking that we realized our predicament.
We paused under a small closed concession stand, debating if we should wait it out or go for it. I voted we make a run for it, and only partially based on the fact that we had not brought any bottles of wine with us. We were within view of his apartment when it started to pour, but back safely in his open air garage before it got too dreadful. Wet, warm with wine and a brisk run, we all had that happy buzz of energy that comes from playing games with mother nature.
While my co-worker apologized repeatedly for taking us on the rainy adventure, I could not have enjoyed it more. There is just something so quintessentially summer about running through an open field in a June rainstorm. We were forced to wait out the rest of the storm, huge gusts of rainy wind teasing the edges of the garage while we tipped back more bottles and laughed with new and old friends.
As an adult it feels so rare to have moments of pure summer bliss, the kind of experiences you had so often as a kid. Neighborhood block parties, games of kick the can, days lounging at the pool – a kid’s summer is a complete time warp of three short months fill with blissfully long days and nights.
Even as I try to enjoy each second of summer, I find myself counting down the days until this special event or that goal is accomplished. It feels impossible to squeeze everything I want into my summer, and when I add in the adult responsibilities I have sometimes it seems like each day is stretched to the last minute with busyness.
Yesterday I came home from work to an evening free of responsibility. After a few epically busy weeks of running around after work each night, the hours I had between 6pm and bedtime seemed like an ocean of idyllic autonomy. I threw on my new guilty pleasure country music (hello Kacey Musgraves!) and poured the ice cream batter I had made the night before into my KitchenAid ice cream maker. The gentle whirling of the ice cream machine and smell of roasted strawberries filled the air, and I felt incredibly happy to be in such a simple summer moment.
Each morning my dog teaches me to reach for the sky and to never give up (only partially joking here). She does this on our walks as she jumps incessantly for the birds sitting on the telephone wire thirty feet above our heads with such an enthusiastic zeal that I have to laugh. I’ve set some lofty goals for myself this summer, but I think what I’ve come to realize is most important is settling into each moment with a consciousness of where I am and who I’m with. And if that moment involves roasted strawberry and buttermilk ice cream or wine with friends, all the better.
If you’re looking to get into ice cream making, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home is indispensable Give her Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream recipe a try here and then go buy the book!