While summer is quickly soaring by and all the regrets of things left undone are settling in, there is at least one thing that we've accomplished this year. A summer tradition arching way back into time to the summers of my youth that my children have whole-heartedly embraced: sleeping outside on the trampoline.
It only took one night at the beginning of the summer to get them hooked, and we haven't looked back. They have slept out there nearly every night since. I've been more than a little impressed as we've had a cool summer with cold nights. Yet night after night they happily endure the fog and misty breeze, snuggled under quilts and sleeping bags.
We lie there and wonder at the bright planets, phases of the moon and learn the constellations. We exclaim loudly, fingers pointing, as meteors streak across the sky.
So it was one of these nights, while lying under the stars, that I tell them about Shakespeare. We just happen to live backed-up to a vineyard, and out past our eucalyptus tree across the acres of tidy green rows of grapes is the white vineyard "castle house" where fairyland exists. We sometimes walk there in the evenings and trespass by the green and manicured tasting lawns and marvel at the restored 100 year old Victorian castle house.
But this year, fairyland is actually there, and we didn't even have to imagine it. Oberon, Titania, Puck and others have been frequenting the vineyard every weekend from 7:30-10:00 for a mere ticket price. While we don't have it in our budget to actually attend this backyard Shakespeare festival, we lie on the trampoline and listen to the applause and laughter of the obviously delighted audience. I explain who Shakespeare is to the kids, and promise them that next year I will take them. But somehow, as we lie there at 10:00 all snuggled up in sleeping bags and gazing at meteors -- and we hear the cheering for the final curtain call -- I realize that we're not quite ready. Eyelids are already drooping, but there's something just as magical, if that's even possible, as Shakespeare's play. A real midsummer night's dream.