I’ve been blessed over my lifetime to have been able to enjoy so very many wonderful summers. After the toils of winter and the exuberant pop of springtime, summers have always felt like a time of celebration. Many family members have summer birthdays and so, memories of celebrations in steamy, sunlit meadows and/or beach picnics with kids and dogs abound. Summer hiking and water adventures have coded endorphins deep into my muscle memory. Summer visions of my own family as they grew up can easily fill daydreams with pastel delights and peels of laughter. Oh, the laughter! None of them have been spent, however, emerging from an historic pandemic. How grateful I am that that will be one of this summer’s themes.
I’ve recently returned to the city in which I’d lived the last five years. Having had to exit over a year ago at the start of all of our COVID impacted lives, this has been my first opportunity to return. The days here have been filled with long overdue reunions with treasured friends and colleagues. Plans for the future are being made … for travel, for work. It’s great, it’s fun but I have to say a little unnerving. I feel a little stiff, unpracticed at social interactions and I think we all feel a bit like bears emerging from hibernation as fresh conversations reconnect synapses. A bit raw too perhaps as our nervous systems reawaken to hearing other people’s thoughts having listened to so much of only our own over these last many months.
Walking through the park yesterday taking in its lacy explosion of green, I wondered if the leaves feel the same way. After all they have been through their own hibernation season. Not all fun and games for the leaves. I mean they are working hard over summer to store all the food they’ll need. The grace of their emerald canopies belie the fact that their industrious photosynthesis process of collecting energy from light, adding water and carbon dioxide in order to convert it to chemical energy is well underway.
Maybe we should take our cue from them and follow suit by storing essential food for the coming seasons. My usual summer “to do” list is pretty long with frivolities: have a barbecue, eat a lobster, pick some blueberries, get in the ocean, hike, hike some more, seek vistas, listen to crickets, nap in the sun, sleep under the stars, smell a gardenia, listen to a lot of jazz, sip lemonade, make sun tea, add to the collection of memories with family and friends. But wait…maybe their sum total adds up to more than just frivolities. Those good times, those sense memories fill a mental bucket that over time have distilled to their essence: beauty and love. Their alchemy births a form of hope, a hope that I’ve drawn on when needed on darker days. A hope that promises that because good days have been lived, they can and will be lived again.
So, on this summer day 2021 as we emerge together back out into the world I wish for you, your own list of summer frivolities and may they sustain you with buoying hope through all your seasons to come. Happy summer!