I love this quote by Lovelace. She was a children’s book author who grew up in my home town nearly a century before I was born and wrote of young girls finding adventure and mischief in Deep Valley, a fictional name for our home town of Mankato. I would imagine, despite a century of change, the advent of summer for her was just as lovely and promising as it was for me as a girl in that river city of verdant hills and valleys.
Poets and authors have long praised summer’s splendor, the long days of warmth, flowers in full bloom, the busy-ness of Earth as crops grow, animals move about in a productive scurry, and humankind springs to life with an ardent need to enjoy the outdoors before winter returns with its cold temperatures and abbreviated daylight.
We live in a part of the world where, even if you don’t long for hot weather and sunshine, a moderate dose of the stuff can rejuvenate and lift the spirits. And for summer lovers, these short months are reason to celebrate and grasp every opportunity to revel in the outdoors.
Summer always stirs up memories of my childhood. Picking bowls full of delectable red and blue berries whose colors invoke a particularly patriotic tug on my heartstrings. The gentle sways and rolls of the lake’s motion while sitting in my dad’s fishing boat. Nighttime at the farm when the crickets would chirp in a full chorus at bedtime.
As kids, summertime was the season when we could check our inhibitions at the screen door and dart outside in bare feet, not stopping to tug on rubber boots or unending layers of snow gear. Dripping popsicles didn’t matter on the front lawn and the sprinkler offered a full afternoon of fun with very little cost. When Grandpa was feeling mischievous, nighttime would mean the celebratory glow of sparklers shooting their light in swirls and swoops as we chased around the lawn in a jubilant ruckus.
Summer’s most blessed events for me now include my mom’s fresh-squeezed lemonade, a trusty porch swing surrounded by vibrant and heavenly-smelling flower gardens, and a real page-turner of a book. As I relax and take in the pleasant peacefulness, the kids are learning and experiencing the fun and freedom that summer holds. Watching a 5-year-old excitedly chase fireflies in the darkening evening while his older sister races to the house for a Mason jar calls to mind my own memories of summer nights and the magic of the world. What childhood would be complete without sailing out across cool lake water on a tire swing? And my husband and I have now passed on the early entrepreneurial torch of setting up lemonade stands to our kids. I’m sure my mom is chuckling inside, now that “what goes around comes around” has found mewith the sticky floors and spilled sugar on my countertops. But, alas, this is summer, kids will be kids, and floors and counters are washable.
Picnics, bike rides, watermelon on the front steps – whatever your summer favorites might be, enjoy them! Summer is short and should be savored and experienced to the utmost!
And should the kids ask you to join them running through the sprinkler, do accept. That kid way down deep inside will still appreciate the thrill of racing through that cold swaying spray on a hot summer day.