It finally feels like summer. Sure, I may need a hoodie, and it’s too cold to leave the windows wide open, but tonight I reprised one of my favorite summer activities: the Tuesday night concerts at Wing Park.
Every Tuesday night, a different band plays at the Wing Park Bandshell. A group of neighborhood folks stakes a claim on the lawn, bringing snacks and treats and bottles filled with “magic water” or “kool-aid.” I bike over – it’s about three miles each way – with a blanket and snacks in my backpack.
We listen to music, but it’s not about the music. Tonight, one of my favorite local bands, Seventh Heaven, played a very laid-back set, perfect for the crowd. Kids play, running around, blowing bubbles, and dancing to the music. Some people bring fast food – I smelled pizza and fried chicken tonight – and others pack picnics. My group usually brings some combination of cheese, crackers, fruit and something sweet.
We chat and visit and just enjoy being outdoors. Sometimes it’s very hot for the first few songs until the sun dips behind the trees, but that wasn’t an issue tonight, as I pulled out my hoodie and zipped it against the chill.
And then, when it’s over and the band says good night, everyone packs up and hugs and vows to return next week. As the cars line up to get out of the lot, I glide past them on my bike, zig-zagging through quiet neighborhood streets as the streetlights come on and the fireflies lazily flicker my path home. The chill feels good. Night riding is such a treat, unimaginable 8 months of the year. I feel free and swift and content with the world.
Tonight, as the moon rose higher in the sky and I coasted home, REM popped to mind.
I went to an Iron and Wine concert last week in Chicago’s Millennium Park , and it was a completely different experience. Overly crowded, with battles over turf, and the crowd was louder than the music. It made me appreciate my Wing Park crowd even more.
We’ve fought through a cold, wet spring, but I’m so glad it’s summer.
What’s your favorite summer tradition?