Tag Archives: Summer

The Perfect Summer Day

“The worst summer ever.”

 

This was the topic one day last week in the lunchroom at work. It has rained nearly every day for what seems like forever. (I’m sorry to anyone in California reading this, we would gladly send you a couple of our rain storms if we only could.) According to our local weather geeks, this has been the least sunny June for years, probably decades if I could only remember the specific statistic.

 

Last June actually had more rainfall, but who can remember the difference of a few small fractions of an inch for a whole year?

 

If I were a Supreme Court Justice, I would have had to write the dissenting opinion on the state of this summer. Since I have this blog outlet, I am writing the dissent. (As a legal geek, I am devouring all the press about the decisions that are being handed down.)

 

It helps that, in my opinion, yesterday was the perfect summer day. The temperature was in the mid-70s, there was sun all day, and a light breeze. Ah, bliss. Warm enough for capris and sandals, not too warm to do some weeding in the middle of the afternoon. It would have been the perfect day to have a leisurely lunch on the patio at the restaurant were my son works, but they were light on customers so he actually got to leave work a bit early to enjoy the afternoon.

 

We seem to focus in on the perfect summer day, it doesn’t seem to be as important in winter, spring or fall. Summer is our ideal, the elusive perfect concoction of nice weather and enjoyable activities.

A tiger lily bloom starting its only day of existence

A tiger lily bloom starting its only day of existence

But perfect for one person is too something for someone else. And if every day were at or near perfection, quite soon we would cease to notice at all. It is the scarcity of the perfect summer day that is part of what makes it perfect.

 

Sometimes we miss these wonderful weather moments due to obligations, like work – where as an office worker I am insulated from nature by conditioned air and fluorescent lighting, my back to the window. Sometimes we can enjoy them peripherally, such as with open windows while we complete a long undone task. (I finally finished rehanging the pictures in my living room yesterday, only 4 years after painting the room.)

 

Sometimes we miss them simply through being oblivious. The sameness of our routine – get up, go to work, check things off the to-do list, repeat – makes us forget to note the state of nature around us.

 

The green, growing things are thriving in our cooler, rainy weather pattern. If we take the time to note the way that they are thriving, it might bring a smile.

 

Summer is fleeting. It seemed limitless as a child, and in the glow of memory those recalled days are strung out, one more perfect than the next. Perfect summer days as an adult take more effort, but sometimes it is just the effort to push aside all the obligations and see the trees in the forest.

 

© 2015 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Season’s Change

Summer is over if you count the season as lasting between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Or we still have a handful of days left if you take into account these days before the first day of autumn.  The leaves on the trees are still green, but clearly worn.  Some are tinged with other colors after hanging onto branches for quite a few months.

 

Walking at the back of the nearby park with the dog recently, I got a strong whiff of the sharp smell of fall.  A bit of pungent decay, once growing things ready to enrich the soil for something future to grow.

 

I’ve written a couple of times over the past few months about summer, this season that most causes us to think of leisure.  One that we are more likely to feel concern about wasting than the other three.  (Assuming that we live in a place that has seasons, which I do.)

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How did I do in my effort to enjoy moments of summer?  I mentioned choosing the patio option as often as possible in my early summer post.  I’m afraid that I didn’t meet up with family and friends all that often, but I can say that I logged a bit of time on decks and patios.  Nor did I manage to get to more than one outdoor concert.

 

I took stock again early last month in my effort not to let summer pass unnoticed.  I can add the taste of our own tomatoes to the list I made in that post.  They have a heady flavor, but unfortunately thick skins.  And I experienced mosquito bites too, darn it.

 

This summer wasn’t hot enough for a lot of people, but it was just about right to my thinking.  (I’m sure they at least appreciate the more reasonable utility bills from the moderate summer heat.)

 

Now plenty of people are already bemoaning the coming of winter.  But, please, let’s give fall its due first.  The weather will continue to be pleasant for weeks to come and then turn crisp.  While the plants all settle into a dormant state.

 

I’ve lived most of my life in regions that experience all four seasons.  I most enjoy spring and fall, I see benefit in summer, and I endure and accept winter for the sake of the other seasons.

 

While I think about how I met my own summer expectations and where I fell short, I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t just lament but decide what I might do better.  How about you, did your summer turn out how you expected?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

How Much ‘Summer’ in Summer?

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.

DSC03845

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?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Lazy Days of Summer?

I regularly read Mary Schmich’s column in the Chicago Tribune and one of her frequent themes is to remind herself and all readers as well to enjoy these brief summer days.  Despite a hefty work schedule that no longer breaks for the summer months.  It is so easy as we dash from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned office to air conditioned store to air conditioned house to completely miss summer.   But we really earned this summer after the winter we just had.

 

summer is getting ready to burst open like this peony

summer is getting ready to burst open like this peony

I have been watching all of the plants come out of their dormancy, unfurling their leaves and sending out new shoots.  I enjoy the return of the leaf canopy on the streets that I normally drive (except my own which has been devastated by the Emerald Ash Borer, where all the trees sadly await a saw.)   I take in the changes of plantings as the dog and I walk our usual routes.

 

It is my intention to choose the patio option more often this summer when out with friends or family and enjoy the breeze, the rustling in the trees and the play of light.  (And try to stay in the shade.)  I’ve already managed to do this twice, which is a good start.  When meeting up with friends, I hope we pick outdoor options more – open air concerts are offered by several entities as one choice.

 

I need to dig out some of Mary’s old columns that I have kept to check for some of her suggestions.  I remember one had something to do with a stack of notecards, one for every summer day, and as the day ended she would jot down a summer-specific activity that she accomplished that day and move the card to a new pile.  As summer progressed the pile of blank cards shrank and the filled cards grew.  It is a nice visual way not to let the days of summer slip past unknowingly.

 

How will you enjoy a lazy day or two or three of summer?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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