May 31, 2019

Summer Blessings: Slow Down and Count Them

Ask school-age children which season is their fav, nine out of 10 will trumpet, “summer!” without skipping a beat. With adults, it’s not always so clear. Our sensibilities have been both refined and broadened by time. Other seasonal passions like spring gardening, fall leaf peeping and winter skiing may have knocked summer down a notch or two.  But I believe if we take a moment to really think about Summer and all it entails, the old excitement will begin to stir anew. There’s an awful lot to be grateful for about summer. 

Please take time with me to welcome the season by honoring a few favorite memories from summers’ past.  If you close your eyes, each memory—how it tastes, smells, looks and feels—becomes more vivid. 

  • Sleeping in. Remember how the stress of school began to vanish as the reality of not having to get up sunk in? How good did that bed feel! 
  • Splashing in the pool. Oh joy! That first dip of the season—brrr! 
  • Getting lost in a novel stretched out in the hammock. A glass of lemonade, tucked under the hammock and hidden from the sun, heightened the pleasure. 
  • The sweet, clover smell of freshly cut grass. It telegraphed ease.
  • Drippy, syrupy cherry snow cones. How long were the lines at your snow cone place? I never made it home without my top stained a bright cherry red, the shape of India.
  • The unhurried pleasure of picnics. Is there a favorite blanket of your mom’s in your picnic memory? Or a special food? My grandmother’s pink wedding-ring-pattern quilt and my mother’s unbeatable fried chicken are fixtures in mine.
  • Chasing fireflies. I wonder, was catching them even the object? 
  • The anticipation and adventure of family vacations. I always had butterflies trying to get to sleep the night before! 
  • Grilling—how the entire neighborhood smelled of charcoal at a certain time each evening, a smoke-signals message to us kids to ride our bikes home, and how comforting and exciting that was all at the same time. 
  • Nights lying on a blanket in the back yard and meditating on the miracle of the vast glittering sky. Maybe those were my first existential experiences. They definitely gave me a sense of proportion and wonder. 
  • The annual blast of fireworks. Did your family celebrate the Fourth with special traditions? Homemade ice cream and bouquets of fresh-cut roses were among ours. 

Now that I think about it, most of those pleasures haven’t faded much over time. Though summer no longer grants me the luxury of sleeping in, it does present a more leisurely tempo.  When the weather warms up, the pace slows down at our home in Naples, Florida. Summer signals the end of the Gulf Coast’s busy season. Vacationers and snow birds alike seek cooler climes, leaving the restaurants, roads, and beaches less crowded. There’s a sense of unhurriedness that the season ushers in, not unlike the feeling I remember from my girlhood. I can still appreciate a snow cone on a hot day, but now I also enjoy the season’s first margarita and G&T. And now I’m the one who gets to shape the family traditions and conceive new ones for picnics, glamping, vacations and holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth. And throw impromptu parties for no good reason other than just because. I no longer chase the fireflies, but I do play a game with myself of looking for them, predicting where their next light will appear. I still love being in water when it’s hot outside, and a summer read curled up in a hammock remains the absolute best. And every time I catch a whiff of just-cut grass, I’m instantly awash with a sense of peace and security that I hope each of you will share with me this beautiful, blessed amazing summer.

With gratitude,

Logo flourish

2 responses to “Summer Blessings: Slow Down and Count Them”

  1. Michelle Snyder says:

    What a lovely blog this Friday morning. Gosh it spoke so much to me, the words just jumped out at me, perhaps because I am a summer child !

    I do have wonderful memories, Memorial day always kicked off summer season up north,( long Island , NY) . Even though school was not out yet, we all got to jump in the beach club pool in our neighborhood and start to play and run in the sand. It was the beginning of 3 months of no school.

    Sunkissed shoulders, sleeping in, and yes lighting bugs. We would catch them and put them in Carvel ice cream plastic containers and cut wholes in it to have them last and watch the container light up.
    We would yell down the street for ice cream truck,, sit and let it drip all over our hands and lips.
    Italian ices at the beach club in a white cup you would just keep squeezing to get all the good stuff at the bottom. Riding bikes, hanging out and playing in the grass, and then hearing parents yell to come home for dinner.

    Truly just put smiles on my face. Xxoxoxo

    Every year our family vacation was to Lake George area- LOON LAKE NY for 1 – week. Dad packed up the Volvo and 3kids stuffed in the back, fishing poles, kids, accessories and we were off! And yes, Dad always wanted to leave at 4-5am to beat the traffic for the 5 hour drive to our vacation and now I understand,:” his sanctuarty time- week.

    So although our weather gets a lot warmer her in SW Florida, I agree with you, we do slow down a bit( well ,its so hot you can move too fast anyway)
    We do enjoy all the restaurants that were packed for the last 6-8 months, and I always make time to get some beach time in as well.

    You touched upon so many memories, I love them all.

    We did have a big white hammock in our backyard and I would come home, a little sunburn, shower, put on my walkman listen to PINK FLOYD and just chill in the hammock, as I got older I started to read a lot more and more as well. Music and books always a necessity in my life.

    I could write pages and pages of Summer memories…
    thank you for sparking all these wonderful memories, What a joy to stroll down memory lane.,

  2. Kathy Stafford says:

    Thank you for reminding of my own summer memories! 🙂

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