Happy new week! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend filled with family, either by birth or of the chosen variety, friends and tributes to Dad (even if only in your memory). It’s always hard to feel motivated to start the routine over again, but take heart my friends. This Monday brings with it the Summer Solstice, officially the longest day of the year. We’ll even have a full moon to mark the occasion. A “Strawberry Moon”, so called because it’s also the official beginning of strawberry season. (I guess that means “local strawberries”, since we can get them year round these days. But, the strawberries of summer certainly seem more colorful and succulent and we have a lot more ways to enjoy them that we save for these three months of the year.)
Summer – now there’s a lovely word, conjuring up images of long, warm, leisurely days filled with sunshine. Summer just feels different from other seasons. Even if, as adults, we don’t have three months of the freedom to do nothing but fill those days with playing in the dirt, splashing around in a pool or a pond or just reading a book under a tree, the extra hours of daylight seem to afford us endless possibilities. When we leave the office at the end of our work day when it’s already full dark it can sap whatever energy we may have left. Going home and pulling the covers over our heads to sleep until spring seems like a good idea. Bears aren’t the only creatures with a strong desire to hibernate. But leaving at that same hour in the summer, when the sun is still shining, feels refreshing. Our batteries are recharged.
-The unofficial “Song of the Summer”
The hours we have to spend until it’s time to do it all again are no different, according to the clock, but they certainly feel like they are. Whether it means extra hours of daylight to toil in the fields or the garden or sip refreshingly chilly beverages on a patio or deck, the evening stretches out in front of us like a cat waking from a nap. We have time for long walks or a bike ride, we can drape a blanket over a stretch of soft green grass and listen to a concert or just watch kids with ice cream cones dribbling over grubby hands while the scent of grilling meat and charcoal lighter fluid (cookouts still require briquettes in my fantasy) wafts past our noses. It doesn’t feel late when we get home from watching the “boys of summer” play baseball in a “park” the way it does when anything keeps us up past our bedtime in any other season.
These are lovely pastoral images. Certainly for some, summer means cranky, sweaty people complaining about the heat and the bugs and the shrieks of children with nothing better to do than have as much fun as they can fit into ninety days. Resolve not to be one of them. Resolve to find some of that fun for yourself. Time flies, my friends. Even the days that seem endless will soon be gone. I hope you’re reading this while you’re making plans to savor some that sunshine. Now go out and play.
Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast;
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.
The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover’s breast;
I’ll lean upon her breast and I’ll whisper in her ear
That I cannot get a wink o’sleep for thinking of my dear;
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.
-John Clair (1793-1864)