Dancing Amid the Stars

Before I write about a wonderful night I never wish to forget, I apologize for not blogging here. Quora, Medium and my book edit have kept me busy, along with other irons in the fire. I promise to post here twice a month going forward. Ready?

I had the perfect July 4th (a day early, but who’s keeping track?) evening with the person I love more than any other I’ve ever met. We perched on the chairs overlooking the creek that is a small trickle, devoured brats (think large hot dogs) and sipped minty mojitos from icy glasses. We laughed about life, watched as the sun swung herself over the edge of the trees and noticed hundreds of lightning bugs playing in the darkened woods.

We had a second round of my new favorite drink, and I idly watched as the thumbnail crescent moon made her own early descent. My husband had brought out a speaker, and as we listened to Ohioans enjoying the new law opening up the use of fireworks, we took turns choosing songs. We started singing through Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton, made our way to some duets, and then we had ourselves a dance party.

The sweltering heat dissipated as the coolness from the woods surrounding our home crept up the hill and found its way into our laps, so the night begged for dancing. As we tried to dance the way we did in the 80s, we laughed, showed off to no one other than some scared deer at most, and we acted like college kids at a bar.

Since we first met, officially, at a dance bar in college, our lives have included dancing at various points. We took ballroom, and we only remember the waltz now; we cranked Nirvana and jumped around the living room with our small daughters. James Taylor entered our world as our son was born, so he would swing to Sweet Baby James. The Foo Fighters, Eagles, and even EDM have compelled us to dance.

I think tonight will be tucked away carefully in my mind. The stars gleamed above and while at times so many different people were enjoying their fireworks, we laughed about it sounding like a night of shooting. It felt like the old Wild West or a Western film. The night full of booms and the skittering bangs of multiple small firecrackers set the stage for us to abandon our normally quiet selves and enjoy one another amid music.

Sipping the cooling mint and rum for a quick moment between singing and dancing took me back to when I first met this man. He’s remarkably lithe and nimble for a guy who lifts weights regularly and is 6′ 2″. I imagine I look like I’ve been struck over the head a few too many times as I jump, twirl, swing my arms wildly, and even use some tai chi movements to add to the laughter. Suffice to say we would never do this in public, but we don’t care overmuch what the raccoons, deer, foxes, turtles, owls and bullfrogs think about our sweet moves.

As the tree cuddled the slip of a moon and sent it to sleep, we would sit and sing to the night, hoping our neighbors didn’t mind. I did sing in another life, and at one time I almost left high school to head to NYC and try my luck in theater. Thankfully I made the decision to let my friend head there alone, or I wouldn’t have met my soul mate. The man who has my back and more. The only person on the planet who has seen me as I am at all times. Weird, funny, loving music, missing playing (tune that piano is perpetually on my to-do list) and dancing with a man who freaky dances when needed.

My mind flew out to the time when our whole family sat on the back porch drinking whiskey and singing to Foreigner. I had no idea my kids liked that music, but they adore the 80s and wish they had lived through it. Concerts were cheap, and all I had to do was skip physics class to leave with my friends and buy tickets to Genesis, Devo, the Cars, or Elvis (Costello).

Or the time in the car when my husband and I had just belted out, Hello, by Adele, only to have my son follow that by singing in a perfect falsetto, some song I never knew, but it was fast with words spilling out of his mouth at a rapid rate. His sisters, judging by their laughter, had no idea little brother could sing. Or at least cover a song by a woman that was so sky-high.

But tonight was for me and my guy, and we needed this. The sound of continual shootings (fireworks courtesy of teens everywhere), starlight, mojitos, and music. And laughter.

I hope you find yourself on a July evening full of fireflies, moonlight, and music someday with a person you love more than life. And that you dance.

I’m wishing you all the happiness your heart can hold…
– Deanna Eppers

Thunderstorm delight…

Today started out a bit slow. The rain sluiced down the windowpanes, and I finally made two cups of coffee and pulled out my book for a little Friday inspiration. Outside my favorite colors played with one another, with the green in the trees, the grass and the bushes swaying in the stormy wind. As the rain lashed the screened windows from the west, I nestled into the sofa farthest away from the wet and smiled. Greens and blues mixed together, and I wanted to inhale it all and save it for a dull winter day.

If only it worked that way. June is a time when we luxuriate in the long summer sun, and some of the nights are still cool enough to justify lingering on a porch, deck or lawn in the twilight. Here the sun manages to stay out until 9:15, and even then the sky remains imbued with orange, blue and violet until an hour or so later. It fools me, and I watch the deer enjoying the clover or my roses for too long. Then when I realize I should water the plants on the porch it’s almost ten o’clock! So I mentally decide to stay up an hour later to compensate.

One of my goals is to become a semi-morning person again. I did it for years, and now I’m kicking up my heels way past midnight and loving it. But it feels like I should be able to slip out into the backyard before the sun swings above the trees. Eh, someday. The nights here are raucous with the bullfrogs in the pond, an errant cricket born too early, and the owls who love to call to one another. Over all of that I hear the rumble of the train and settle deep into my couch, and I turn another page in my book. Summer has treats tucked into it for all of us, and we are so beguiled by her winsome ways.

When I talked to the barista this afternoon, we mutually lamented the sad lack of thunderstorms this past spring. I told her a storm was on the way and to watch for it, then I drove home hoping for the storm to wander our way, rather than passing to the north. I had prayed for thunder only that morning. Thinking that the storm was moving slowly, I made a last minute decision to head down to the creek. With the morning rain we had, I could hear the waterfalls announcing their presence; and I had to see one of them.

Last minute treks down a steep hill are seldom wise, but I had a storm blowing in and had to make it down and back in time. I forgot about the uphill return trip in my eagerness to see the creek. After walking sideways down the path to avoid falling down in the mud, I picked up the trail that leads to a place where the creek runs over beautifully round stones. The gurgling is enough to make me want to sit on the creek bank for hours, except it was damp; so I soldiered on and sought out the falls.

The creek had subsided considerably by the time I went down there in the late afternoon, but I still enjoyed the bright green of early summer or very late spring. I could hear the thunder, faintly; but since the creek lies between two very high ridges; I didn’t notice how difficult it was to hear much of anything other than the unceasing rush of water. I decided to tackle a branch jam, which had formed in two places. I noticed the other subdivision had cleared out their side, but somehow our side of the creek was full of fallen (or thrown) branches and tree limbs.

I like to test my balance by walking on slippery stones, and I do mean that quite seriously. If I had thought to wear better shoes, I would have walked into the middle of the creek. I took some photos of the lovely stones and lush greens down there, and suddenly I heard a great crack of thunder! I had to move it and quickly. I started on the path, only to discover it wasn’t a path; so I retraced my steps and picked up the trail; when less than a quarter of the way up I felt drops on my hand. I had to beat the rain, only it beat me. The downpour started, and I had the worst of the climb ahead of me.

As quickly as I could manage, I made my way up the steep hill. At one point I rested under a canopy of trees, but the rain was so merciless that it offered little protection. I continued my jaunt uphill, and right at the top where the path becomes my back yard I stopped. I had so many steps, literally, to take and I had nothing left in me. Then the storm let up, and somehow I scrambled up the wet stones and into the garage and made my way into the cool house. I collapsed onto the floor in the family room and laughed at myself. What was I thinking? Going on a hike when a storm approached from the west?

Which reminds me of the time in college when I was taking my books back to the bookstore to resell them for far less than I had paid. The parking lot was quite long and narrow and was built in the middle of campus where one could see nothing but fields all around. I walked with my hands too full of books stacked one on the other, while my friend helped by holding a few. Lightning was striking closer by the minute, since a spring thunderstorm had popped up. I told my friend I felt tingly all over, and he said my hair was standing straight up all around my head.

My image of the storm on my way to get iced espresso.

Once when I was a very young child with white blonde hair, I had been at a fair or exhibition and a man wanted me to come up and touch some machine of his (I was so young, so details are sketchy); because he would show the crowd how static electricity worked. My hair apparently fanned out all around me into the air, standing straight out. That last day of the semester when my friend told me that, I flashed back to that day; and I knew I had to make a dash for it.

Lightning was going to strike the tallest object in the field, and I was it. The buildup of static in my hair so even the hairs on my arm stood up made me run faster than I thought possible. We both ran, and he held the door open for me while I rushed into the depths of the student bookstore. I asked him to tell me when my hair started to lie flat again. It took less than a minute, and we heard a very loud crack of thunder overhead. Thankfully, it wasn’t my head that was struck.

My cat enjoying the sunshine on the porch.

Now you know what not to do when a storm is approaching: drive to Starbucks, then take a hike down a cliff; or walk across an empty field. I know these things also, and yet I had to laugh at my foolishness. Again! Thunderstorms are a delight, even when I’m caught in the downpour. I enjoy them anytime of day or night, and so I’m going to pray for a wild evening filled with glorious thunder (that isn’t from a severe storm) as soon as the wedding is over.

Wedding? Not only does June bring summer, but in my family it brings out the brides. My grandmother was a June bride, as was I; and now my daughter is to be one in six short days. I’m awash in wedding details, and I’m inching my way closer to the actual day. Tonight is her bachelorette party, and it seems they went to a karaoke bar where my married daughter just picked out a song and started the singing. We all received a text of the sisters smiling together, captioned that “they were brought up right”. Yes, no one in our family is immune to the lure of a karaoke bar.

Wherever you are this week in June, find a way to stare up at the sky or into a green woods; or walk outside reveling in the heat. Realize the world is quickly opening up, and greet her like an old friend. I went to the movies last night, and we had almost the whole theater to ourselves. I didn’t mind one bit, plus movie admission costs much less than it did a year ago. Enjoy summertime in June!

I’m wishing you all the happiness your heart can hold…

Until next time,
Deanna