As August begins, school supplies fill the shelves of retail stores. Students have already started the countdown.
“One month and two days until school starts,” commented one member of Westwood FFA as he sat in a camp chair, in a barn on the Lassen County Fairgrounds, watching classmates prep their steers to show. He had shown a hog the day before.
Now of course, the start date for school is much closer, a date that seems to mark the end of summer much more than a day on the calendar, which is September 22. Summer seems to be a season of promise to many, but I am not sure what we expect. Is it a time of refreshing or a period when there are fewer constraints?
Summer days seem to fly away much like a feather caught in a strong wind. Can we grasp hold of them? Perhaps, but we need to determine what our perfect summer scenario encompasses. Doing more routine things outdoors is indicative of the season to me. A few years ago we built a deck, a perfect place of respite. Therefore, I now make the deck the place for my morning coffee and Bible reading in the summer. My perfect summer scenario also encompasses dining alfresco for lunch or dinner and walking in the woods rather than on the treadmill. Summer is at its best when we make time for those activities that are symbolic of the season. They likely reflect personal preference, but most have in common things that favor warm, sunny weather and long evenings when twilight seems to pause and darkness creeps in ever so slowly.
As a kid I loved to be in and around water. We would spend many afternoons at a neighbor’s swimming pool. After dinner we frequently talked my dad into driving to the Cosumnes River for an evening swim. When I was 12 years old, my family built a pool. In my college days, rafting on the American River was a favorite summer activity. Now that I have moved to the mountains, kayaking the local lakes has become my top water sport. We must purposely schedule those summer activities. One hot Saturday morning, as I worked on the backyard we are trying to landscape, my husband came home and announced that we were going kayaking.
He indicated we needed to step away from the “to-do” list and take some leisure time. It proved to be the tipping point for regularly scheduled kayaking.
My husband and I also schedule hiking days and in recent summers one backpacking trip. Overnight hikes are a new activity, which fits well with the area in which we live.
A multitude of trail systems provide countless destinations. Although grocery stores now carry many traditional “summer” items year round, purchasing certain summer fruits near the growers is another aspect of summer I personally embrace. Melon, blueberries and peaches are some of the fruits I make a point to keep in the fridge this time of year.
Life seemed to stop for summer when I was a kid, but as an adult I cannot get out of bed whenever; kick off my shoes and go barefoot all day; float in the pool every afternoon; and leave town for a few weeks to play with my cousins on the beaches of Southern California. But I can make sure summer doesn’t just slip away.