In a special part of our yard, a circle of round stones sets aside a spot where we love to linger. Summer offers us the time and space and perfect weather to make a fire and sit a while. Family campfires are one of our favorite places to create lasting summer memories.
Throughout this long winter, our backyard stood stock still. No leaves rustling. No flowers blooming. No tomato plants producing fruit or cucumber vines climbing our fence. Covered in snow for nearly three straight months, all the things we love about our yard were hidden and waiting. And now, the thaw has come and gone and a shadow of green has fallen everywhere and life is returning to this space we love. It is calling us outdoors and we cannot wait to rediscover all the summer wonders that await us in that space. It is the best of the summer months. The sights, the sounds, the smells… and especially the tastes.
Before we had a yard, we found creative ways to have a family campfire. We owned a fire pit and used it on our small concrete patio. The way that we relax when we sit with our kids around a campfire is worth the work. Making a fire, sitting together as a family, enjoying dinner cooked outdoors has long been a habit that helps us to save our summer from feeling ordinary. Sharing this as a family helps to break up the monotony of days upon days and brings us to a place where we remember what we love and we experience that together.
And while we will often roast a hot dog as we sit out there at night, it is not the hot dog that we love best. Instead, it is the dessert! Stars overhead, twigs crackling, darkness surrounding, tree frogs singing, all of this wonder surrounds us as we unwrap our Hersey’s, lay out the grahams, and put the marshmallows at the end of a stick. Once roasted, we assemble our s’mores and there is no more talking, just a quiet family sitting still in creation enjoying the best that summer can bring.
And all this sweetness can remind us that there is so much to experience in summer. There are so many blessings we have been given. This season overflows with all that is good and we can see God’s hand daily working in creation, bringing forth leaves and flowers and vegetables and fruit. His word is alive in the world He has made and is making today. And that word is sweet. We read in Psalms 119, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” As we sit around the family campfire with our children close by, this is the truth we share. When we take the time to notice, to smell and see and listen and taste, we are making summer memories out of ordinary days and noticing the wonder at hand. Because the truth is that we are surrounded by God’s living word in His world and it is wonderful and creative and sweet.
Sweet like honey.
Sweet like s’mores.
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster