The Summer Snaps, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:54am

I felt it.

Yesterday I felt the summer snap, and open to its descent. The second rose bloom is blowsy now, and the insects full of feast.


Anyone who thinks we don’t have weather in California just doesn’t feel light. A lifetime here and you come to understand summer as, mythically perhaps, the Inuit do snow. So many variants.

February summer – when we’ll have a hot week arriving it seems from nowhere. May – you wake up one morning to find sun on your winter-shaded front step and feel warmth in anticipation. June – you remember why we pay such absurd sums for ordinary real estate. Hey, not everything’s poetic.

And then July 4th. No Californian worth their salt would want that weekend to pass without spending time near water – a lake, the sea, or a swimming pool. We ate lunch at my father’s,


where my nephew AKA The Cherub was in attendance.

Baby B

And the evening sitting in two fold-up chairs, in my driveway, watching light pass through the neighbor’s tree to the horizon.


Yes. the family fortune has faded but yesterday I minded not one whit. I imagined the garage door behind us an RV, and the cul-de-sac ahead a mountain vista. The light  and the audacity of the 18-foot high oleander almost made me believe it true.

I hope as many Americans among you as possible had a 4-day weekend, and that the entire world has enjoyed, or will very shortly, their Saturday.

Images mine, except The Cherub, taken by my stepmother the photographer.

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  • How beautiful are your words, Lisa. And the pictures, esp. the cherub. My grandson is almost out of the cherub stage :(
    I am sitting in my living room, looking out at the half-clouded skies of Southern California in early July. It’s not yet noon; cooler than yesterday at 85 but humid. And so we perceive the changing of the seasons, from balmy spring to searing dry to the stickiness preceding thunderstorms (cross fingers). We have seasons within seasons, if we only notice.

  • Oh, Lisa, once again your post saddens me and I am uncertain what to make of your ongoing mourning of the lost family fortunes. It cannot escape you (can it?) that having even a small collection of Baccarat butterflies, or even slightly worn Manolos, living in the Bay Area, sending not one, but two children to Princeton certainly puts you in the top tier financially. If your family can no longer endow a hospital wing, if you house will not be featured in Architectural Digest, is that really so hard to accept? Are you confusing (net) worth with value? Was money really who you were?
    But to your other point- Yes! I am a native Californian, and experience “the seasons” every bit as keenly as a New Englander. So subtle, and so sweet.

    2:35 pm
    Lisa said...

    Thank you, but no need for sadness. I only thought of the fading fortune comparing my father’s pool to my driveway. I do live differently than how I grew up; I am quite happy, however, And right now, given that I’m working, I have absolutely nothing to complain about and am very conscious of my resources. Money wasn’t all, but it was, as I have written before, so intertwined with my childhood that it’s like the smell of your country’s cooking. The soul of our kitchen, if you will.

    3:03 pm
    Kathy said...

    My apologies if I seemed “snarky”. It was not my intent. And it is very true that our experience is different when we have lost something, than if we have never had it at all. It was only the ache of looking back that troubled me. I have always thought that Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt from the salt of her tears. There is a sign on my kitchen wall: “Enough is as good as a feast.” But I also think we have to learn to recognize a feast when we see one :)

    7:22 am
    Lisa said...

    No, your comment didn’t strike me as snarky. I think it’s evidence that something written by one person will be experienced differently by another. What to me was an aside, to you was the point. A valid interpretation.

    9:47 am
    Kathy said...

    Thank you, Lisa. It is a true gift, not to take offense where none is intended.

  • Summer has finally come to England too! I fake tanned my legs (just a bit), put on a pink and white cotton dress and dared to leave the house without a cardigan. Lovely!

  • I think Lisa has a firm grip on net worth vs. value. In many ways, that is what this blog is about. Her commentary about what was vs. what is, is one of the things that makes Amid Privilege interesting.

  • Such beautifully set words.
    I´m not in envy of what you perhaps have had and what you perhaps have left.
    But – I wish our summer here in Finland were a bit more longer and the winter much shorter, not as cold as it is.

  • Gorgeous baby, Cherub is right. June gloom is still lingering in LA, but the sun is beginning to break through mid-day here, so there is the feeling of Summer in the air….finally. And yes, as a native Californian, I’m so attuned to the variations of light during the year, which in LA has not been at it’s best – hazy and glare-y. Oddly, I’ve been having a fantasy of an RV too….

  • I see a pool and I see a driveway – nothing anyeone with an average income would be able to afford where I live. Around here they symbolise wealth. People can feel poor on very different levels.

    2:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    The pool belongs to my father, if that wasn’t clear. And in suburban America, a driveway is not so uncommon as it is in urban Europe. However, I agree. People can feel poor on very different levels. I’ve talked about that before. In this case however, I only referred to the fading family fortune affectionately, as I feel those reading here by now are quite familiar with the shades of meaning.

  • Hi. I guess I qualify as a long-time stalker as I have been reading but not officially following. Beautiful post, as usual, but what stirred me to make my first blog comment? The proof of your “privileged” upbringing is evident in the grace in which you handle, let’s just say, graceless comments from somewhat uncentered individuals. I wasn’t raised with monetary privilege but was surrounded by it. What I know is, often privilege is wrapped in manners, sincerity and grace. Rather than point a finger at the inequities of life one with less “privelege” might embrace a difference and learn a great deal….or not. Finances aside, smallness is a choice.

    5:47 pm
    Lisa said...

    Hello you. “Smallness is a choice.” What a lovely mantra.

  • As a designer I can be very shallow, so I apologize for my base self. I don’t know if this is the house in which you and your siblings were raised, if so I commend your parents for daring to paint the bottom/sides of their pool the dark color that they did. I have ALWAYS loved a pool finished out like this, the kind that sits under a bright glaring sun yet is easy on the eyes. Moreover, my-brother-the-landscape-architect would swoon at the lush landscaping surrounding and breaking the plane of the pool deck. Something tells me they’re native plants.

    Pinning this pool pic to my Perfect Pool Board. With appreciation.

    5:48 pm
    Lisa said...

    It’s not the house of my childhood, but my mother started painting pools dark back in 1970, if I remember correctly:). And my stepmother and father have always had black-bottomed pools. I am honored by your Pinning.

  • What a gorgeous child. I am glad you are happy :). Not so much a fan of the heat though. Today is better, with nice breezes and cooler temperatures.

  • I just enjoy reading reflections on summer as I sit here in southern hemisphere winter. The baby is adorable. You have impeccable manners.

    5:49 pm
    Lisa said...

    Thank you. In fact, in real life, I’ve been known as a blurter with questionable manners. This blog has taught me the distinct grace of waiting, and replying with a larger context. I thank you all, every one of you, so much for that.

    The baby, yes, adorable. Edible even.

  • Kerry, you said it perfectly. And, Lisa, whether the change is high to low or low to high, it’s an adjustment, and one worthy of acknowledging the change in culture, identity and mindset.

    When I saw your beautiful nephew I thought of the moon – round, full, bright.

    6:59 am
    Flo said...

    That beautiful nephew, when LPC wrote of being up with him in the night, taking the quick glance at his “round face and round eyes,” I was so hoping that blankie weren’t covering his face, Lo! here he is! Struck to see what must be the family philtrum, our clan displays the same strong indentation, you can pick all of us out of a lineup accordingly.

  • You sound like someone in love!
    When I think of RV’s I think of endless trips to the camping store for the proper part so whatever wasn’t working on that particular trip could be repaired. I’ll stay in a motel anyday.

  • I feel your summer and it makes me happy as your words so often do.

    Not to mention that baby.

    It’s hotter than hades here, our true summer has also hit, but I just founds moments of loveliness in a weedy garden.

    Love the life you live I say. And I know you do.

    xo Jane

  • Reading this on the bus home from a night shift, while Londoners everywhere blossom and sparkle on a rare true summer’s day and prepare to spend the day laughing, loving and enjoying themselves outside, I was about to feel jealous of your four-day weekend and your Californian climate. But I have now been reminded that “Smallness is a choice” and am grateful for my job, for not getting my feet wet on the way home, for being able to pack a swift picnic and eat it on Hampstead Heath with my husband on the way back to work tonight, and for the general feeling of wellbeing around me as I wend my weary way home. Thanks as ever to you and your readers, Lisa. I do love your blog and the conversations it begins. (And am sorry that some people see fit to pick and quarrel. Your graceful response is humbling, but I wish you didn’t have to respond to such nastiness at all!). xxx

  • The cherub makes me think of ‘Putti’s’ in the Italian old masters.Those little fingers aaah!
    The UK is going through a heatwave 27f here in the Shires,glorious.

    7:51 am
    Flo said...

    I was thinking putto/cherub as well — cherubim being sacred, putti being secular. Interpretations switched 180 during the Baroque period, I think it was. ARH is a good distance through my rear view mirror these days, I used to know these things ;-)

  • Cherub, indeed! Our Fourth was quiet this year, a welcome break.

  • It is quite lovely how your faithful readers spring to your defense, although being characterized as graceless/nasty/small might only serve to inhibit honest dialogue, and seems a little…well, I would rather not call names.

    8:29 am
    Lisa said...

    I delete comments that clearly target other readers – in this case I chose to assume that nobody meant offense, anywhere, and that the opinions were general rather than specific:).

  • Jeez Louise, Lisa, it is July 8! There are 7 more weeks left till Sept, and a nice dividend then (if the global weirding settles down. In Montréal, where we can easily have 5 months of snow, we’re nowhere ready to throw in the beach towel and pronounce summer on the downswing. And is that baby boy not the most kissable little dumpling ever?

  • What a beautiful baby.

  • Such a perfect description of the weather through the spring months into summer Lisa–and yes, July 4th must be spent near the water! I’m hoping you took that 4 day weekend–I know I did.

    xo Mary Jo

    p.s. That little cherub is delicious!

  • What an adorable baby! I enjoy your way with words and also your lovely style. I am not from privilege, but I admire the gifts of those who are. Thank you for what you share in your blog.

    2:03 pm
    Lisa said...

    You are more than welcome.