When the vinyl seats squeak under the weight of your wet feet.
When the towels smell like a mid-July cocktail of sunscreen and bug spray.
When the speakers pulse with Rascal Flatts and Jimmy Buffet and long-awaited playlists.
When the cold shocks your back end as you hang off the boat to pee.
When the cooler water trickles its way into Ziploc bags of sliced watermelon and pre-cut Colby jack.
When the sun capitalizes on your SPF negligence and paints your shoulders red.
When the conversation flows without script, dialogue purged of lists and plans.
When the daily menu consists of grapes for breakfast and Doritos for supper and koozie-clad beverages in between.
When the mud sticks to your toes and the sand settles in your hair – stubborn tokens awaiting their late night shower debut.
When the water sparkles like diamonds – a dazzling middle finger to all who curse its color and mock its prestige – and your four-year-old turns to you on the ride home and asks, “When can we do that again?”
That’s when you know it’s summer.
1 // watching and thinking, always
2 // two girls and a Mississippi backdrop