In the height of summer’s heat we set up shade canopies. We load ice into coolers full of craft beer and Dr. Pepper as overexcited dogs lick the salt from our bare calves. We comment on the growth of the children tumbling together in red shirts and blue shorts spangled with silver stars, and on the growth of each other’s rotund bellies. And then we wilt into our shaded chairs so we can bask in each other’s company.
This time of year my hometown smells of baked earth and barbeque and dried grass. The light, filtered though it is through our oversized sunglasses, yellows with each sandy gust of wind. We are a desert people and we make oases of each other even as the heat steals the water from our bodies in perfect, salted beads.
This should drain me, but it feeds me instead. It is good sometimes to collect ourselves in the places we come from, to spend time in the company of people who have known all of the embarrassing versions of ourselves and accept us all the same. It is good (sometimes) to have a peach-flavored cider and a hunk of charred beef and to laugh about the mess that has become of our lives. And it is joyous to see all the ways we have drifted apart and how we fit together all the same.
It is hard, and good, to separate after these hours of togetherness, to return to the places we have scattered to, to make plans to see each other again after the months have aged us and the children have continued to grow. A festive occasion, in which we tell (again and again) the stories of our shared past, and celebrate the stubborn, mule-headed passage of time.
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Want to make your own festive donkey? This amigurumi was made with Ilaria Caliri’s Pedro the Donkey pattern, which can be found in Issue 59 of Simply Crochet.