Is it summer or me?

blogIMG_1049Summer and I have not always seen eye to eye.  There once was a time when summer rocked my world.  I couldn’t get enough of the season.  But somewhere along the line, summer lovin’ became summer hatin’ and we actually became enemies.

When I was a kid, summer and I were besties.  I. Could. Not. Wait. Would count down the days until summer came beaming its sunshiny way in.  Warm weather prompted wearing shorts and flip flops.  No school.  Sleeping in.  Playing outside all day with neighborhood friends.  Big family picnics.  Lush green grass to sink into and run around in barefoot. Baseball games.  Splashing in the cold creek.  Bike rides coasting down hills with the wind rushing in your ears.  And enjoying all the Kool-Aid you could drink and popsicles you could eat before they melted slithering down your arm leaving a sticky trail.  And if you were lucky and Dad could swing the time off and extra money, maybe even going on a family vacation to someplace you’d never been before. Staying outside until long after dark playing hide and seek and catching lightning bugs in glass jars or lying on the cool, evening dewy grass staring at the smattering of shiny stars lighting up the velvety nighttime sky.

Back then, what wasn’t there to love about summer?  Yes, summer was my best friend and it dismayed me to watch it depart.    

Fast forward to my teen years.  Summer and I were still best buds.  No school.  Sleeping in.  Hanging out at the pool all day with your friends with the transistor radio blaring the popular music of the day. The smell of Coppertone and baby oil while toasting in the sun trying to acquire that sun-kissed tan on fair, freckled skin.  Long, uninterrupted daydreaming in a hammock under the shade of the apple trees while discussing love, guys, and futures with a best friend.  Loading up the car with a group of girlfriends and taking in the drive-in movies after the sun set or joining up with friends at summer carnivals, boarding the thrill rides and screaming your lungs out until you were dizzy with excitement while bright lights glowing in the dark spun around you. Staying up reading your latest favorite book until the wee hours of the morning when all the neighborhood lights were out and nothing could be heard through the open window but crickets and an occasional dog bark.

Summer, how I loved you and you were still my favorite season of the year.

“The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” ~Wallace Stevens

Even after jobs and marriage, summertime’s allure still beckoned.   Summer brought time off.   Picnics and bar-b-ques.  Adventures with family and friends.  And lounging by the pool, still chasing that elusive summer bronze.  

By the time our twosome became a family of five, I beheld summer through the eyes of my children.  Raising our three, we eagerly awaited summer’s appearance. No school.  Exploring.  Playing outside all day.  Neighborhood block parties.  Baseball games.  Sleep-overs. Wet swimsuits and towels hanging on the deck to dry.  And if you were lucky, a vacation might include a trip to the beach, soaking up sunshine, sand, and salt water.  Teaching little ones how to ride a bike and how to catch a firefly in the dark.  Showing them how to find the North Star and the Big Dipper and listening to crickets chirping. Falling asleep after a long day of mothering to the white noise whirring of a fan in the window bringing welcomed cool breezes.  

“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood
.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

But then came the rift.  Either summer was changing or I was.  Summer became a weary chore.  A long seemingly endless ordeal of scorching, sweltering days that no amount of ice water or air conditioning could quench and even longer, stifling, muggy nights when sleep couldn’t be found while air was so thick with humidity, the oppressiveness made me gasp for any hint of comforting relief.    

Summer seemed relentless and monotonous and the heat caused me to feel like I would literally burst into spontaneous combustion.  No longer did I look forward to summer, I dreaded it.  I counted the days till its demise and scoured the weather channel for signs that it would soon depart and my misery would cease.

“Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”  ~ Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir

So summer and I became enemies in my mid-life years. I couldn’t wait until summer was shoved out of the way by autumn’s cooling ways.   “Bring on the snow,” I would retort.  “I’m ready for winter.”

Summer, that once loved, slower season of relaxation fell from favor faster than plummeting temperatures in the middle of January.  In the ranking of seasons, it came in dead last and stayed there.

Until this summer.  Summer is attempting to lure me in again.  This is the first summer in many years that I have not had a job to rush off to or major work projects to complete.  This is the first summer in quite some time that the temperature has hovered near 80 for the most part or lower.  Nights have been relatively cool and the whirring of my window fan instead of my once-overworked air conditioning maintains good sleeping weather for me .

The yard is covered with lush, green grass, not yet browning or withering away in scorching sun like most summers.  Flowers are in abundance as is the produce from the garden.  Our summer fare has included lots of rainy days but pleasant sunny ones as well.  I’ve been able to throw open the windows and breathe good, fresh clean air and enjoy being outdoors in daytime hours without wilting from smothering heat and humidity.  And last night while talking with Papa, I confessed this thought that has been rumbling around in my brain for weeks now: “If summers were always like this one, I might love summer again.”

Yes, something is changing.  I just don’t know if it’s summer or me.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
~ Anton Chekhov

©2014 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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18 responses

  1. Once again our memories mesh and once again our feelings are so much the same. I too had come to dread summer’s heat and scorched earth. But this summer the air is light and the world is lush and green. I too may love summer once again.

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  2. Oh, I’m so glad you and summer are on good terms again. I LoVe summer, probably because I love going barefoot or wearing flip-flops….. Your descriptions of summer memories are spot-on!

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  3. You really do have feelings for summer. When it’s really hot, hot, hot, I can’t get Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime” ♪♪ out of my mind. It rhythm beats down like the sun, but it’s also carefree.

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    • It’s shocking, but I seem to have good feelings for summer as long as the temps stay moderate and the humidity level doesn’t cause everything to be sticky. It’s so good to see you back in my comment block, Georgette! Oh, and thanks for the ear worm — now I’ll be singing ‘In the Summertime’ all day long! 😉

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  4. The heat and humidity the last couple of years have worn me down, too. This year it’s been slightly cooler (and a lot wetter). Still, I love summer for its lack of cold and snow (THAT I could do without!)

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    • Well, we’re like-minded when it comes to that heat & humidity, Margo! But I actually do like cold and snow as long as it doesn’t last too long. I just like the fact that we enjoy all four seasons’ changes here.

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  5. OMG your post was amazing! Why, because I can relate! I hate summer … it’s too hot, my knee hurts in the humidity and my kids are too old now to hang out with at the beach – one daughter actually lives about 5 hrs away – great excuse for me to take a road trip and probably the highlight of my summer … but this heat … and everyone gets mad when I tell them I don’t miss winter at all! My favorite time of year is fall … nice and cool, can still have the kitchen window open without the furnace coming on … thank you for this post – I thought I was alone – maybe I’ll like summer someday as well .. but for now, I’ll stay in by my A/C and suck in all the cool air.

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    • Aw, thanks for stopping by and joining me! Actually, I’m with you — fall is my very most favorite season for all the reasons you said and more. I love the warmish (not hot) sunny days and brisk cool nights of fall. And I am an open window, fresh air fanatic! I dislike air conditioning but I am grateful for it when it’s hot and humid.

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  6. I enjoyed reading your summer descriptions, baking right along with you under that summer sun and hoping for that bronzed look, the carefree days without school. You swept me back in time.

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    • Patti, thanks for coming on that back in time summer journey with me! When we “roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer’ memories, we might be like that Nat King Cole song and wish summer would always be here.

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