Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write about something “summery.”
Today’s post is written by Phil Yeats. In December, 2019, Phil (using his Alan Kemister pen name) published his most recent novel. Tilting at Windmills, the second in the Barrettsport Mysteries series of soft-boiled police detective stories set in an imaginary Nova Scotia coastal community is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Tilting-Windmills-Barrettsport-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07L5WR948/
He’s currently working on a Cli-Fi novel. Information on that project is available on his website (https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com).
Warm Summer Evenings
Years ago, we lived at the end of a cul-de-sac next to a small section of urban forest. On warm summer evenings, bimmers and other fancy sedans would arrive. They’d disgorge teenagers burdened with boomboxes, twofers, and packages of snack food. The drivers would depart, presumably to return their parents’ cars, and reappear on foot with others joining the party in the woods.
From early evening, the raucous music punctuated by occasional noisy outbursts from the participants overwhelmed the usual nighttime forest sounds. Near midnight, the teens, with boomboxes blaring, would emerge from the forest and disperse into suburban city streets.
Screeching owls, and cats expressing differences of opinion, would reassert ownership of their forest. In the morning, scavengers with their grocery store carts would collect the empty beer cans.
We lived in that house for twenty years and observed many teenage gatherings. They consumed prodigious amounts of beer, but we only witnessed one altercation. On that occasion, a sidewalk fight erupted as they left. A neighbour called the cops, and the men in blue defused the situation.
Altercations we didn’t witness presumably occurred in the woods. And pot—illegal in those less-enlightened days—must have been consumed.
Our neighbours complained about immoral behaviour and environmental damage. I refused to get involved in discussions of the morality of teenage behaviour but noted they left their trash in a city-maintained garbage bin near the entry path. And the scavengers appreciated the beer cans they left behind.
They were being teens on warm summer evenings, and I envied them as they trooped into the woods. Perhaps if I’d had opportunities for similar teenage social interaction when I was their age, I would have grown into a more sociable adult. Or perhaps not.
More years than I care to remember have passed, and I’m sitting outside another house enjoying another warm summery evening. Our province is recovering from its initial response to the recent coronavirus pandemic. The authorities recently eased lockdown conditions. Limited social gatherings are once again possible. Several members of our writing group organized an in-person meeting, our first in four months.
The risks were minor. Nova Scotia is nearly virus-free, and we’d be outside following the social distancing rules, but I didn’t participate. I fear my reluctance to take part was less about avoiding risk than about avoiding social interactions. Teenage lessons in sociability wouldn’t have altered this lifelong tendency.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com/
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/