Lavender Lemonade

The heat of the summer sun feels like a light kiss in the cool morning air. The bright rays land lightly on my skin, feeling warm and rosy against the crisp breeze fading away from the rising sun. Morning light makes me want to lie in the dew-kissed grass, ignore the damp clothes sticking to my skin, close my eyes, and revel in the warmth of the beginning of a new day. I want to take in these small moments—indulge in their sweetness. Even though I'm given a new opportunity each morning to do so, I don't take it.

Instead I spend my morning on the couch, behind glass, only noting the sun's presence from the glare across the television screen. I greet the sun in late morning as I walk to my car, not out of choice, but out of necessity. It leaves me wondering: where did I go wrong?

I have dreams about the person I wish to become one day. I want to be the woman who keeps a clean house (and doesn't let the dishes pile up on the countertop). I want to be the woman who keeps wildflowers in a vase by the window. I want to be the woman who listens to jazz music instead of watching reality television. But mostly, I want to be the woman who reads on her porch in the morning sun with her bare toes digging into the cool grass.

Maybe someday I will be all of these things... or maybe I will ever stay the same, not quite finding my way out of this groove. Until then, I may not enjoy the sweetness of the morning sun, but I can get sullied up in the afternoon heat and be glad I already am the woman who can make the perfect summer lemonade.

Lavender Lemonade is tart, tingly, and deliciously pink. The flavors of lemon and lavender come together so seamlessly, so effortlessly, that one sip will convince you they were meant to be together. Fragrant and fruity, this lemonade has made a home in my heart. It will be certain to cool you down on any warm summer's day.

Note: Please be sure to use culinary lavender and not lavender labeled for another purpose, which may be sprayed with pesticides or coated in inedible solutions. Edible lavender can readily be found in most health food stores.

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Lavender Lemonade

Yields 1 1/2 quarts

5 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 6-8 lemons)
Lemon slices, garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil, turn off heat, and stir in lavender. Cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes. After steeping, run liquid through a fine mesh strainer to strain out the lavender. Toss out lavender.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring the remaining 4 cups water and 1 cup sugar to boil, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.

In a large pitcher, combine sugar water, lavender infused water, and lemon juice. Stir and refrigerate until cool. Serve with a lemon slice, if desired.