I don't cry easily, except during life's most painful experiences, such as elementary school talent shows. But I almost broke down and wept when my wife and son led me out to the backyard to unveil a surprise birthday gift.
"It's beautiful," I uttered in a near-whisper.
Suspended between two posts under a sheltering overhang of trees, the white-roped berth swayed listlessly in the torpid breeze. With the sun dappling through the leaves, it seemed almost radiant.
"Get in, Dad," my son said.
And I did. Within seconds, I felt transported to some personal heaven. I looked skyward at the blue sky through the fluttering green leaves and bending branches. This was not my beautiful house. This was heaven.
I melted into summer.
Nothing says summer quite like a hammock. Except maybe a bikini.
But I didn't get a bikini for my birthday.
Which, needless to say, is for the best. As you might imagine - but I'd recommend you don't - I don't look all that good in a bikini. I do, however, look great in a hammock.
To relax in a hammock is to luxuriate in indolence.
And that, my friend, is summer.
Summer is, as the song says, lazy. The livin' is easy. The hammock is the flag of lazy, the emblem of easy.
To lie in a hammock is to check into the Idleman Hotel. It is a place where no phone rings because there is no phone. It's a place beyond Do Not Disturb signs because no one would dare; a man in a hammock is sacrosanct. The only problem with this accommodation is the awareness that, too soon, you'll be checking out again. For to be in a hammock means that there is nothing to do but be in a hammock, and having nothing to do is a dream, even in summer.