There is just something about this time of year that is electric. The long days seem to energize my spirit and the warm weather beckons me. I suppose at this point I should qualify ... I don't live where this time of year means you run from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned office. Nope, I reside in the northeast corner of the US where summer brings warmth with moderate humidity and sun without heat ... total weather bliss after long winters.
I remember when the amount of time left of the school year could be counted in days and not weeks. My mom actually let us ride our bikes a couple of miles to school through the woods instead of taking the long convoluted bus ride over the country roads. In the afternoons all the windows in our classrooms would be lifted and doors to the outside propped open so we could smell the fresh air and hear the sweet strains of summer calling us. One year our dog, lonely at home alone, ran into the school building through those open doors. There was nothing so funny as my brother and I watching my older sister and two teachers running up the hall screaming "Ralph, no!" Yeah, our dog's attitude fit his name. The fact that our teachers knew who this medium beagle strutting up the hall with his tail held high belonged to, stunned us all. I think in the end he spent the last hour of school in my sister's classroom before following us home on our bikes.
I always loved the end of the year activities. There was the annual picnic barbeque at lunch. And field day. Remember field day? Playing kickball against the teachers or running three legged races with your best friend. *sigh* I loved it all. Stacking books and scrubbing desk tops. And then the sweet freedom when we burst through the doors of the school on the last day with our book bags filled with all the detritus we'd pulled from the dark depths of our desks, all the broken pencils, crayon nubs and spiral notebooks whose wires had become dangerous weapons. And held tight in my hand was my final report card revealing the name of next year's teacher.
And ahead of me ten weeks of unscheduled time to do nothing but fritter away the days with my friends or hanging out in the woods making tree houses that never seemed to be finished. When it was hot we rode our bikes to the river, swimming and lounging on the rocks or flirting with boys who acted like dragging a lure through the water drowning worms was so much more interesting than we girls in our little bikinis.
We drank Kool-aid by the gallons and ate potato chips by the pound. But no one worried we would gain too much weight, not when we were running around the neighborhood with our friends playing a warped version of hide-n-go-seek. We mowed lawns, babysat younger kids and slept in tents in the yard.
Oh, how I miss those lazy days. I watch my young nephews and neices whose summers are filled with soccer and baseball. Piano lessons and karate. There's no quiet time laying in the grass watching the cloud dragon chase the puffy turtle across the sky. No time to sit and admire a spider spinning a web across the daisy blossoms. Not a spare minute to blow bubbles for the cat to chase. It makes me sad they won't know the pleasure of having nothing to do ... to wake in the morning with no agenda.
I'm so glad I have those memories. With the bright summer stretched out in front of me I will make time to sit in a lounge chair in the sun and read a book and sip a gin & tonic. I'll enjoy street fairs and family barbeques and hopefully feel a little bit of that summer freedom from my youth.
What about you? Any plans or non-plans for the summer ahead?