Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer heat

I grew up having summer vacations that stretched from late June through early September, and those were some of the best and most important seasons in my life. I nurture a not-so-secret hope that we won't make all kids go to year-round school, that they'll get to experience summer vacations, too. And I realize that summer vacation doesn't mean the same thing to everyone, but these were mine:

Early summer had a timelessness to it, a relaxed feeling. Along with the freedom of being released from my school schedule (which required me to get up at the barbaric hour of 5:45 AM), there was the casualness of going barefoot, wearing shorts or swimsuits, relaxing outdoors. As we get older, our lives get increasingly crowded and hectic. Summer back then meant free time: more than enough. Sometimes I would even get bored, and have to figure out how to entertain myself. Boredom is a luxury, and it taught me how to take charge of my own schedule and learn how to fill it.

Summer was when I got to read more than ever: armfuls of books lugged home from the library. I played in the yard more often, inventing my own stories for my sister and myself to act out. (A story-teller is born!) It's when I made my first attempts at writing books.



Summer was melting ice cream, hot pavement, the whirring blades of an electric fan. It was standing in the frozen-foods aisle at the supermarket or going to the movies for temporary relief. It was lying in the grass with a new library book. It was the pungent chlorine of my uncle's pool, and wrinkled fingertips from staying in the water too long. It was barbecue smoke and sweating pitchers of iced tea, and the clop-clopping of flipflops. It was a day at the beach, the salty taste of sea spray, the cry of gulls, and the feel of powdery sand underfoot.

What did summer vacation mean to you?

10 comments:

  1. Summer to us was going to the lake on the weekends. Swimming and tubing and having fun.

    I was lucky to have a stay at home mom, so it also meant playing outside with friends during the weekdays. Exploring our neighborhood or biking to the mall.

    We live in a place with a long winter, and sometimes snowy falls and springs. So summer is very important.

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    1. Ah yes, tubing--did you get sunburned like I did? ;-)

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  2. I especially love your inclusion of the electric fan (not the whir of air conditioners). I remember one summer I spent with my mom and brother under my neighbor's sycamore, in the shade, as a way to deal with the heat...

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    1. I didn't live in a place with central A/C until I was 26. People who've always had it don't know about all the keep-cool tricks: the shade tree you mentioned, the fan, sucking on ice cubes, going under the sprinkler, spending lots of time in the basement ...

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  3. I love your description of summer. It brought back good memories. Summer for me catching fireflies and riding my bike around and around the neighborhood. It also meant playing in the sprinkler and on the Slip n' Slide.

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    1. We have fireflies around here and they're magical.
      Oh, the Slip'n'Slide! Flashback! :-D

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  4. Daylight until 10 p.m. Sunbathing at the lake. Wild parties (shhhhh.) Tennis camp. All nighters. Sleeping under the stars. Ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

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  5. thanks for this one! For me summer meant lots of bike riding adventures, days lounging at the pool, baseball games, fresh cherries, watermelon, extended family picnics, and yes -- enough time to get bored.

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    1. Yes, picnics! Eating outdoors, and having corn on the cob, and running away from yellowjackets!

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