August is upon us and the back-to-school ads have started to appear. Gardens are about to produce tomatoes and cucumbers galore. Leaves on trees are looking a bit tired and worn here and there after shining in their green spectrum from early pale to later deep green. We still have a couple more months to go before the plants all go dormant for the cooler months.
I haven’t taken a vacation, or even devoted a whole day to summer activities, but I have vicariously enjoyed those of friends and family on Facebook and in-person telling. And I have thought about what constitutes a summer moment so that I don’t miss them when they occur. In early June, I wrote this piece about summer and the importance of noting this season.
Summer isn’t just a season, it is an idea – a representation of things to strive for like relaxation and laughter with friends and family. It is nostalgia in a different form than what the holiday season brings forth. The sound of children laughing in early evening brings me back to those moments in long ago yards playing tag or chasing fireflies with a group of other kids. The joy of still being up and out in the dark when we would normally have been tucked into bed.
Enjoying the idea of summer in adulthood takes effort, a deliberateness that wasn’t necessary in childhood. First we have to be conscious that this effort is even required. Summer was spontaneous in our younger years and we might expect this to continue, we might feel discontent when it does not.
For several years in the transition from child to adult, I didn’t think about summer much at all. Perhaps because I was busy figuring out what being an adult meant for me. Perhaps because I was doing this figuring out in California, where the seasons are subtle and mostly all have the feel of summer. It wasn’t until my children were old enough to have a summer break in school, and summers had the same rhythm they had in my childhood that I started to think about what makes summer.
Then I was divorced with two boys and a full time job and I had to make sure they had a summer while basically foregoing one for myself. Or so I thought because I thought of summer as long stretches of unscheduled time to explore and enjoy.
Now summer comes in moments, sips, or bursts. And I enjoy them.
- Time on a patio with family or friends
- The hummingbird that visits the Rose of Sharon in the corner of my yard
- Watching the tomato plants grow and tomatoes form
- The firefly that hovered in front of the dog and I on a late evening walk
- The dragonfly that reluctantly posed for this picture
- The little boy gleefully whizzing by on his bike
- The sound of lawn mowers while I still laze in bed on a weekend
- Thunderstorms clearing the humidity from the air
How much summer is in your summer so far?
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