I struggle to unfold the new reclining chaise lounge – a zero gravity chair. It’s Georgia Bulldog red with a black metal frame. After reading the instruction manual, I am thrilled to know it comes with its own pillow and can lock into any position I desire. Excited to have a day of rest and relaxation on a seventy-degree, sunny afternoon, I revel in the opportunity to enjoy quiet time on the deck, complete with unlimited reclining choices.
Donning shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops, I skip through the house gathering up necessary belongings to bring outside. I scoop up a new fiction novel, reading glasses, cell phone, pen, notebook to scribble random thoughts and retrieve a plastic tumbler and straw, filling it with the perfect ratio of ice cubes, water, and lemon juice.
After dragging the new lounge chair to various locations across the deck to find the ideal spot for sunning, I find a wrought iron end table to set my belongings on and nestle it within arm’s reach. I run back inside to retrieve the softest of our beach towels in the happiest of colors, teal. I flip it open like the mainsail on a schooner, sail back outside, and drape it over the chair.
I remain calm. After all, this is my day of rest and relaxation. I listen to the babbling fountain and the chirping birds in the budding trees above. I rock my feet up and back to no avail. I fidget and flail my arms in the air. I resemble a turtle that has toppled over on its shell. I say a prayer that our next-door neighbors don’t see me in this precarious situation. I continue kicking and pushing my legs and feet, engage all of my core muscles, and muster every ounce of strength in my arms to pull myself back into an upright and seated position. I think to myself this is a great abdominal workout and estimate I’ve burned at least five calories with this one activity. I make a mental note; must burn off another 950 for the day.
While I sip lemon ice water, the sun darts behind the clouds. I conclude it’s the perfect time to read my book. I throw on my glasses and after reading two words on the “Acknowledgements” page, the sun bursts forth radiant beams of light, fading the black print from view. I slam the book shut, rip off the readers, and throw myself back as if I were an astronaut on the space shuttle preparing for lift off. I lock in the supine setting, and then pucker up my dry lips, realizing I forgot to put on lip gloss, containing SPF 100, to prevent them from burning.
The fountain gurgles, the birds chirp, and now the carpenter bees buzz overhead. I ricochet up and flail out of the chair only to scorch my bare feet on the hot deck. I hop back to the safe haven of the chair to slip on my shoes, scamper inside, gloss the lips, and race back out on the deck, lest I lose any precious time in the sun on my day of rest and relaxation.
Spring winds pick up. Silver metal wind chimes ting in the breeze. I smell burning wood, turn my head in the direction of the calming campfire aroma, and notice the fire log left over from last night’s fire in the fire pit on the deck, was still smoldering. Seizing the opportunity to add ambiance to my perfect day, I sprint back inside, retrieve paper refuse from the kitchen trash can, and run back out to add it to the smoldering embers. I blow on it with the hopes that giant red and orange flames will burst forth. No such luck, only larger white plumes of smoke belch from the metal bowl; the morning rain had dampened any chance of the log reigniting. Should I go inside and get a lighter? More paper? Accelerant? No! After all, this is my day of rest and relaxation.
I settle back into the outdoor throne and take command, appreciating the sights and sounds of nature - the jingling wind chimes, bubbling sounds of water, tweeting birds, buzzing bees, and swirling smoke filling the air. I close my eyes. Serenity at last until tree bark rains down as four grey squirrels squeak and squawk at each other, racing up, maneuvering across branches, and scrambling down the tall pines above. My three furry babies take notice of them and begin barking.
The clouds eclipse the sun. Now a master of ejecting myself effortlessly out of the chaise, I slide on the flip-flops, collect my things, walk through the smoke, and turn off the fountain. Before I step inside, I glance back and smile, looking forward to the next day when I can rest and relax in the new recliner.
About Katie Hart Smith
Katie Hart Smith’s column, “From the Heart,” touches the heart, inspires, and entertains. Smith, a published author for over twenty years, believes that words, written or spoken, have power. To learn more, visit www.katiehartsmith.com.