It’s Not Summer Until…

It’s not summer until the catalpa tree blooms.

At least, that’s what my mom told me.

Now, when asked, she doesn’t remember telling me that. Of course she figures since she said it, and since the catalpas do often bloom right around the first day of summer, that it must be true. (That’s my mother for you.)

Mom said, (even if she doesn’t remember) that it’s not the hot days, that getting out of school isn’t the key and that you’ll only know it’s really summer once the catalpas turn white.

As a girl I remember feeling the hot sun, and thinking it must finally be summer, then checking the trees and realizing it hadn’t started quite yet. It was never a disappointment, just a fact. If the catalpas weren’t flowering, it was just a warm spring.  Days of rolling down hills until dark, playing in the lake and catching fireflies were yet to come.

Then when they did bloom – now it was summer. Sometimes we would pick the flowers and string them into necklaces but for the most part I just remember that soft internal sigh, the feeling you get when things click into place and everything makes sense, at least for a time.

The catalpas were blooming.

Summer was back again and with it, no school, no shoes, just the joys of long summer days.

Today, my girls and I were helping out my grandparents for the day and saw the catalpas in full bloom. And even though my summers now come with more duties instead of less, and even though this summer is starting out even crazier and busier than normal, and even though I know the first day of summer isn’t actually until next week, and even though I now know that while my mom remembers braiding catalpa blooms into her horse’s mane and tail as the summery-est activity she can think of and she doesn’t remember imparting this wisdom to me that I have held close all my life…

Despite all of that.

I saw the catalpa trees in bloom today and while my grown-up life tried it’s hardest to throw it’s responsibilities in the way, I still felt the excitement that comes with the start of summer.

The catalpas are blooming!

Let summertime begin!


Well… the catalpas were blooming last week, I did mention this summer is starting off crazy right?

Do you ever wonder what sort of off-hand comment your kids will pick up and hold dear to their hearts forever? I started thinking about it,  and have decided I wouldn’t recommend it.  If you are anything like me, you make a lot of random comments that shouldn’t go down in history as family lore!

Except for the catalpa trees and summer but there is nothing random about that.  

That’s just a fact of life. 

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3 comments on “It’s Not Summer Until…

  1. junekearns says:

    Gorgeous! (Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Catalpa tree in the UK.)

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Such a beautiful tree… I can quite see how you would look forward to its arrival…

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