July is made for watering holes.

My favorite is the Blue Hole in Wimberley. Over the years, I’ve forgiven the state for requiring an entry reservation. I remind myself it’s a privilege, slipping into silky green water so cold it makes you believe summer is, in fact, pretty great.

The cypress trees hug the river as squealing kids float into your space. But I never care. If the freezing water doesn’t stop your heart, the Blue Hole’s beauty will. Floating on your back, hearing kids shriek as they let go of the rope swing, is about as good as life gets.

This year, of course, no Blue Hole. No hugging, no splashing with loved ones and no sharing a blanket with friends. I think to myself: the heat is coming. What will we do?

There’s only one solution, of course. A blow-up pool filled with refreshing water straight from our garden hose.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones in quarantine with the same idea.

It’s rough even finding one this year. But we managed to track one down, and initiate Summer 2020 with the turn of a spigot.

As the water fills, and we slap ourselves silly countering mosquitos, I remember my beloved Blue Hole. Pristine, bracing, full of hope for the summer. I look up, searching for a branch to hang a rope swing. A rope swing? I catch myself thinking, In a foot of plastic-held water?

My longing for last summer has gone too far. After all, I have water. Where is my gratitude?

I kick off my flip flops and step into the wading pool. Lukewarm. My husband does the same, cracking open a beer. My two kids sink down. We all try not to touch each other’s legs.

And we smile.


It’s not paradise. But I tell myself that Okay is the new Great, as I descend into the blue, plastic abyss. 


Cate Berry is a children’s book author and mother of two based in Austin, Texas.

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