The door slides open with a satisfying fffshh, the heat from outside battling with the cool, conditioned air at the threshold. The late afternoon sun radiates at me persistently, daring me to stay in.

I step out instead, book clutched under one arm, the cropped grass seeping between my bare toes, tickling, almost, as I cross the yard. A cotton rope bed hangs between two birch trees looming in the middle of the yard, calling my name. First I sit, rocking gently, in remembrance of when the hammock was initially installed and I’d been too eager; it capsized and dropped me to the ground like I’d been forced to abandon ship. This time when I turn and lie back, I’m careful to do so slowly—then fully relax as the tiff is momentarily won.

The sun continues to gaze down at me, partially interrupted by the shifting chartreuse leaves of the birches. I breathe in deeply and immediately close my eyes, the essence of summer and grass and dirt an arrant contrast to the starch and Clorox odor of inside the house.

I open my eyes again, lift up my book, and thumb open to the dog-eared page. I read on where I'd left off, nothing but blissful ambiance reaching my ears.