Summer always has a certain feel. It reminds me of the smell of the public library, when as a kid Mom would to pick out our summer reading books. After the difficulty of limiting my selections down to five or six, then I could spend the entire day laying in the grass savoring other people’s adventures in the pages. But it was also the time to have our own adventures away from the routine of school. I remember so fondly many of the adventures experienced over decades of summer vacations. Canoeing, backpacking, visiting our cottage or even spending the day with friends cruising around town on our 10 speed bicycles.
This week, summer has come again as it has for the past 47 years of my life. This morning, I watched as my seven year old nephew put on his “summer camp” shirt and took his brown bag lunch as he left for day camp. My twelve year old niece did the same yesterday and I can sense that same excitement in them, as I did, “back in the day”.
Because we are now adults, does this mean that those days of anticipation over long summer days are gone? Certainly not. Just because we have to now cut the grass doesn’t mean we can’t still lie on it with a book and savor the just cut fresh smell. Like everything else I write about, attitude is everything. And summer attitude is just as important as attitude in anything else.
I have spent these past ten days back in the mid west of my youth which is most likely the reason that the gift of summer is on my mind. The green and fullness of the season lingers here as does the sun during these months. I allowed myself the time and the freedom from my work to linger here as well both physically and mentally.
And I have already had some new summer experiences as well. A few days ago, we took time to visit an entomology exhibit on the campus nearby my childhood home. For the first time, I held an 8” rose hipped tarantula in my hand! I spent a couple of days just sitting on the screened porch of my summer cottage with my mother, listening to the slow creak of the porch swing as we talked about the old and the new in this small resort town. We went to the art center and painted, spending the whole of a morning drawing and painting sailboats and flipflops. I drove past the two houses I grew up in and snapped some photos. The neighborhoods are more mature now, the trees twenty or thirty feet higher but the memories still flood back. Yesterday, I spent the day with my sister, something I rarely have the opportunity to do but which is so important. We packed a lunch and went down to the local horse track, stuck our bare legs up on the rail and tanned as we picked horses and placed our $2 bets. It was a carefree day, two sisters enjoying the summer sun and time together. As evening approached, we sat on her front step and shucked the corn on the cob, threw a couple of steaks on the grill and sat back to enjoy the last of the lazy day.
After everyone went to bed, she and I talked about our days as kids. Summer is like that, time to reflect, time to enjoy, time to kick your feet up and run through the sprinkler. We may be adults but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the gift of summer. So be sure to plan some adventure into the upcoming months. Get a library book and spend the day reading under a tree in your backyard. Enjoy a slurpee at 7-11 (come on I know you want it!) or take an after dinner walk in your neighborhood. Go ahead…..it’s ok…. slip into that summer attitude.