Friday, June 17, 2011
Is Summer Really Here?
Well, the calendar seems to think so. At least, it says so on mine. June 21, the first day of summer. Summer solstice. The beginning of summer.
Here? Not so much. It's only gone over 70 once this year. I am still wearing my long pants and layering with short sleeves, a sweater and a coat. It's not very summerlike here.
Still, my mind is on summer. On doing summer things. Another post here mentioned required summer reading. We didn't have that when I was a kid. We had summer. And we had three months of summer. School was out the first week of June and we didn't go back until after Labor Day. It was wonderful.
I remember quite vividly the feeling of immense freedom. Of just being. Of doing. Of peace. I lived on a military base for most of my elementary years. Tons of kids all over the place. No fences allowed between the houses. We knew our neighbors. All of the back yards connected in this one, long, beautiful stretch of green. Perfect for baseball. Or tag. Or kickball. Or watching the clouds. Or neighborly barbecues.
We rode our bikes. We walked to the corner candy store. We had sleepovers. We played in groups and alone. We wandered over to the school and played on the equipment. There was something exciting about being on the playground when the classrooms were deserted. No time limit. We could hang out there as long as we wanted to. No bells ringing to tell us recess was over.
We traveled. Went to Grandma's house. Went fishing. Went swimming in the lakes. Had picnics. Took drives for the sake of taking drives. We only had one television, and it was black and white. It was my dad's domain for the news.
When my kids were small, I tried to give them the same sort of summers I had when I was their age. Only we went more places, saw more things. The zoo. The Science Center. The beach. The mountains. Anything that would stimulate their little minds and let them have fun. That was paramount. If they learned things, it was the icing on the proverbial cake.
We had a huge yard with woods. There were forts and treehouses. Games of tag, of hide and seek. Bike riding. Skateboards. A trampoline. Lots and lots and lots of bubbles blown. Hikes in the nearby woods, on the trails. Picnics. Petting barns. And trips to Grandma's house.
All of that is on my mind right now. My kids are all grown. They work now. Only get a few days off here and there. They are responsible adults. I sometimes yearn for those earlier times. Times of shorts, and bare feet. Of sunshine and Popsicle chins. Of fingers sticky with cotton candy, of little, warm bodies exhausted from the day's activities. Of my babies sleeping with smiles of contentment on their faces. Of summer.