CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Summer sounds like flip-flops.
Tastes like watermelon.
Smells like Coppertone.
Summer is shaking sand from your towel and being sticky and licking fast around the cone before it drips.
It's blowing bubbles, and dandelions, and kisses.
Summer is feet in the water off the edge of a dock.
Diving for pennies.
Splashing and dunking and a stomach sore from belly flops.
Hopping on your heels, hoping for that warm release of water trapped in your ear.
"This isn't reading like a column," my husband -- an editor by profession -- says to me at this point, his finger marking his place. "What exactly are you trying to do here?"
"I don't know," I say, spinning around in my chair. "I got up so early, had the window open, the fan going. All the smells keep reminding me of things -- summer things."
Like the way summer tastes like hose water and feels like peach juice running down your arm and the burn of salt in your nose.
How it's all about bee stings on bare feet, Solarcaine on shoulders, grass-stained knees. Mud between happy toes.
Summer smells like honeysuckle and chlorine and burgers cooking on the grill. It sounds like bullfrogs and the squeak-clank of swing chains going almost -- but never quite -- so high that they wrap.