Pie Crust Summer

June has shuffled past in a tense, tired haze, and the summer is starting over.

That’s how it seems from this side, anyway.

Changes at work, changes in life, new hours and shifting sleeping patterns feel like they reset today, for some reason – like I’ve learned the ropes, and now it’s time to work them. I’m not sure yet whether that’s confidence or blind optimism (if history has taught me anything, it’s that I have no self-control when it comes to sleep), but I’m beginning to feel hopeful about this, about resolution to come.

Last weekend I traveled to a nearby farm and picked mulberries, white and purple, into an ice cream bucket until the rain pushed us indoors. This week I baked those mulberries into tiny pies, Hozier playing on the radio – backhanded emotion and religious pictures lacing his music, the kind you feel blood-deep.

I’m proud of my pie crust, hand-hammered into smooth flaky goodness – it doesn’t quite feel like baking unless you have flour under your fingernails, butter in the grooves of your skin. Pie crust has to be chilled, my mother taught me, and there’s something comfortable about slicing into the cold, making it malleable but not fluid. It’s an art, and practicing it feels like a kind of meditation.

The first weekend of July is spreading out in front of me – sleeping in, a bike ride, a solid talk with a friend. Home repairs. Flea markets, fresh vegetables, maybe even a little fishing. Reading – fact, fiction and shameless self-indulgence are stacked on my borrowed books shelf, and I can’t wait to get started. Sweet wine and Agents of Shield, yoga stretches as I smooth the muscles pulled out of shape by desk work.

It boggles my mind a little how idyllic this life is. I blew into this prairie town almost by accident, a place to work hard and rest easy, build and enjoy.

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It’s another Fourth of July that I won’t be able to spend with my family, though I’ll get to see them soon. I’m looking forward to the celebrations here, but nothing quite compares to rocking in a boat on a lake up north, scent of gunpowder wafting over us as someone takes an inevitably sideways fireworks video.

It boggles my mind a little how lonely this life is. I love living alone, and yet I miss the easy comfort of having someone in the next room, mocking me after my frantic search for the phone in my pocket. It’s hard to build relationships here, though those that gain traction seem to have grip.

When I pulled my mulberry pielets out of the oven, something crackled – and it’s not a crackling sort of pie. Investigating, I found a sticky note on the bottom of my cupcake tin. “Shop for frames,” it said, singed edges curling. A slightly blackened remnant of my to-do list.

For reference: if there aren’t any actual flames, it totally doesn’t count as a kitchen fire.

But I had to stop and grin a little.

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