That Feeling

Rhonda Bowen

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All Smiles

Around this time every year—it typically happens at some point in mid-June—I feel it. That mood you only feel in the summertime. A lightness, a freeing feeling. It’s not exactly carelessness, but it’s something like that. The pressures of life seem to lift a little. Life moves more slowly, one’s grip loosens a bit. There’s less urgency. Maybe it’s because of the rising temperatures, or just the general “school’s out” vibe of things, but I always feel I can be a little more relaxed in the summer and not feel bad about it.

I feel it in my office (I own my own dental practice); I sense it from the smiling patients who come to see me, from my staff, and in the way I go about my work.

I feel it in my sincere fondness for all the seasonal clichés: barbecues, trips to the lake (I adore anything having to do with being near water), driving with the top down, fireworks, shorts and flip-flops, farmers’ markets and festivals, and all those quintessential American grilled foods and ice cold drinks which just seem to taste better in the hot sun.

I feel it when I smell the new cherry blossoms and see the wildflowers that are all around us this time of year. I feel it even while I’m doing summer chores, like yard work and weeding (I must confess: I actually love weeding; it’s so satisfying!). I feel it when my hubby and I are off-roading our Polaris RZR, laughing and feeling like teenagers again as I kiss his sunburned cheek.

I feel it when I am lying back and it seems the sun is recharging my senses, and I can hear the birds singing while I sip on some fruity cocktail.

So what exactly is this feeling, this happy carelessness? I think maybe it goes back to our ancestors, who spent spring cultivating the land and restocking their stores of food. In summer, they were finally able to rest, celebrate, and feast. I guess humans haven’t changed that much after all.

For me, though, I think the source of this feeling has more to do with the way that the summertime seems to bring my family closer together. My youngest daughter is home from college. I tend to leave work a little earlier so that I can spend time with her. I can visit my eldest daughter in Las Vegas, or my son in Boulder. Sometimes we are all happy to kick back and just be together, and not do anything in particular. My husband and I like planning trips for us, or some smaller adventures: we are conscious that we are making memories together. Perhaps this is what the summer means to me more than anything else; perhaps this is the secret source of that special careless feeling: My family is here, we are all OK, we made it through the winter. Let’s be grateful together.

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