Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate – William Shakespeare

Hmm. I'm not quite sure the bard was a fan of summer considering that quote.

I was surprised when the subject of summer pursuits came up in my critique group the other day. Well, not surprised by the topic, since I brought it up, knowing I needed to write a “summer” themed blog soon. No, I was surprised by the range of emotions this particular season seemed to evoke amongst our members. So I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you today.

For starters, Heather Boyd lives in Australia. So for her, summertime activities include drinking ginger beer and celebrating Christmas. I have to give her credit, that was not the sort of summer fun I was expecting to hear. But as realtors always say – Location, location, location. Her best summer memory is something I don’t imagine I’ll ever get the opportunity to see. Her parents were driving across Australia and she’d fallen asleep. Heather said, “I woke up at sunset to find kangaroos keeping pace with the car.” That just sounds magical to me.

Stateside, however, the excitement for the season was embraced by some, but not by all.

Julie Johnstone loves lazy swims in the ocean and searching for seashells on the beach. She said, “Summer is my favorite season because life slows down and I don’t feel rushed to do anything.”

The idea of lazy swims in the ocean gave me heart palpitations, however. For me there’s nothing lazy about swimming in the ocean, it’s more of a panicked rush back to the shore. I always think I’m fine and then an image of Spielberg’s Jaws flashes in my mind and I can’t get back to land soon enough before I hyperventilate.

Erin Kelly says she
lives for summer. “
We live on the lake, and every day we swim with the dogs, go wake boarding or wake surfing, putter around on the pontoon, or simply relax on the dock and tend to my container veggie garden.

I don’t know if I’m coordinated enough for the wake surfing, but she makes the rest of it sound nice. Then again, I can usually be talked into trying something once.

Melissa Dawn Harte loves the relaxing and lazy days of summer so much she never wants it to end. While drinking a large pink lemonade, she vowed, “Someday I plan to retire to the coast and buy a sailboat.” She is always the adventuress.

Still, I don't know if that's the life for me. I like the coast, don't get me wrong, but I think I when it's time for me to retire, I'll want to be pampered 24/7.

Contrarily, Catherine Gayle’s rant on the season had me in stitches. “I hate summer. I hate summer with a passion. I hate it because summer is miserably hot and humid in Texas, and all I want to do is go to Antarctica or North Pole, Alaska to cool off for a minute. I hate it because the sun comes up so much earlier than I want to get out of bed, but my cats have decided that sunrise also means it is time for them to be fed. I hate it because I have extremely fair skin that burns at the drop of a hat, and so I have to not only slather on SPF 1,000,000 sunscreen all the time, but stay covered up with as much clothing as I can bear--which isn't much, since it is hotter than Hades.” She also said her favorite summer pastime was standing in a walk-in refrigerator.

For a more traditional and perhaps more nostalgic sentiment, Jerrica Knight-Catania says she remembers “catching fireflies at dusk when I was little".

I am sure she has plans to share that activity with her little princess as soon as she’s old enough. I know I enjoyed doing so with my son when he was younger. What is it about fireflies that make them fun? As a rule, I hate bugs; but there's something magical about fireflies (or lightning bugs depending on where you live and what you call them.)

So, I’ll pose to you a question I asked my critique partners. What is your favorite summertime memory? Or if summer isn't your thing, how do you plan to escape it?


  1. Two words: air conditioning! On the whole, I like summer just fine, but lately, the weather has been downright brutal around here. It's nice to have someplace to go to cool off!

  2. To me, summer has always equaled freedom. In my mind, the school year will always be associated with living on someone else's schedule.

    I like not having to drag my kids out of bed when it's still dark and cold outside. I like being able to jump up on a whim, and drive to another city with no concern for when I get there or when I have to get back. I like that my writing time is not interrupted by carpooling and PTA.

    And as lazy as all that sounds, my favorite thing about summer is that I'm able to get so much more accomplished.

    Great blog, Lydia!

  3. I'm in an even more ranty mood about summer today, Lydia. LOL. I'm in Austin visiting my grandparents who are wearing sweaters and gloves and winter hats while the rest of us sweat it out in their house that is kept at a sweltering 82 degrees this summer. On top of their outdoor-in-the-late-afternoon-sun-barbeque yesterday, I am also playing taxi driver for my brother who is reporting for his weekend duty with the Army National Guard. They were so kind as to give the entire division a mandatory family picnic yesterday. Outside. In the park. In the heat of the afternoon, with NO SHADE. So despite my SPF 1,000,000 sunscreen, I'm rather red more ways than one.

    Maybe I'll see if some convenience store nearby will let me go and sit in their refrigerator for a little while.

  4. I love summer. One of the reasons is because the daylight hours are longer and more things can get accomplished. For the most part, heat and humidity don't bother me, except yesterday was pushing it a bit. One of my favorite pasttimes is working in the garden, which starts in spring. I would have to say though, that spring is my favorite season because flowers start to bloom. I love flowers, the scents, array of colors, etc. Basically, I am an outdoors person and as soon as the temperature no longer requires a coat, I am an outside, usually with my laptop if not gardening.

  5. Great post, Lydia! I'm still laughing about Catherine's distaste for the season :) Lots of great summer memories and thoughts here!

    I particularly agree about the lightening bugs - pure summer magic :)

  6. Wow, Lydia, what a beautiful blog post. It amazes me how so many different personalities can get together and get along so well.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. I have fair skin and live in a place that gets as hot as Hades, but I still love summer best.

    I have so many memories that I honestly could not name 10 favs let alone 1. In general my youth is equated with freedom and the joy of roaming the hills and gullies where I grew up, hours spent exploring, climbing trees, capturing lizards or tadpoles, and so on. It was glorious!

    As an adult it is the warmth, sunshine, family vacations, flowers, and so on. What can I say? I am a summertime kind of gal!

  8. I want to move to Alaska, too. But I hear it gets warm up there, but it absolutely canNOT compare to the humidity of the east coast. Someone pointed out that June 21, the longest day of the year, signals the slide toward autumn and I had a huge "hallelujah!" moment.

    Normally we go to the beach, but we don't have a vacation planned there this summer. I might have to suck up the money and book a hotel room (on the beach b/c that's the ONLY way to get a hotel room at the shore, imo) for a few days in August. Which is ungodly hot, too. ugh.

  9. My favorite part of summer as a kid was the 2 -4 weeks my dad and I would spend on Westhampton Beach, Long Island. Summer meant being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean and spending the day diving off my Dad's shoulders beyond the surf and knowing he'd save me if the I was caught in the riptide.

    Summer meant spending the day clamming, and nights spent by grilling the clams we caught eagerly watching and waiting for the them to open only to slosh them full of garlic butter we had melting in a pot that shared their grill.

    Summer meant house parties when we'd have so many guests, the kids would be relegated to sleeping on the trampoline of the Hobie Cat or beneath it while the grown-ups danced and drank.

    Later it meant spending my days sailing on Mountain Lake in my Sunfish, swimming off the boat, racing around from beach to club, and lazy Sunday mornings racing my boat but not trying too hard to win. Sigh...I miss those summers.

  10. Lydia,

    Great post. I love summer, but I have to say when I got in my 102 degree car yesterday, I did have a moment where I longed for fall and the breeze it will bring.

  11. I grew up in the South, so I know how miserable the heat can be. I'm surprised Catherine didn't mention second degree burns from the steering wheel. :)

    Now I live in a northern state where summer is fleeting. I've always loved the season, but now I see the long days and warm weather as a gift.

    Some of my favorite summer time things: the swish-swish of sprinklers; coconut scented lotion; fresh tomatoes and watermellon; roasting marshmallows; riding with the windows and sunroof open in the early evening; hide-and-seek in the dark

  12. I've been gone most of the day, enjoying summer with my son. :)

    Cheryl ~ having grown up in Texas myself, I am all about air conditioning. How the original settlers handled that heat way back when is a complete mystery. I would have never made it. ;)

    Clarissa ~ For me the only thing freeing about the summer is I get to sleep in. My son is in a different program every week and keeping up with the hours and locations is the furthest thing from freeing.

    Catherine ~ I can just picture that and my temperate is rising, just from thinking about it. Be tough, the weekend will soon be over.

    Amy ~ I wonder if it gets as hot where you are vs. North Carolina. I think I'd melt if I was to try and garden (and when it does cool off - all the mosquitos decide their favorite meal has just arrived.)

    Erin ~ Thanks for posting. I don't get the firefly thing, but it's real.

    Melissa ~ Thanks for stopping by and for you comment in the blog.

    Sharon ~ I'm so glad you're in your element in summer, even if it is hot as Hades. ;)

    Judi ~ I am in complete agreement. There is NO reason to go to the beach unless you are staying ON the beach. Period. It's not even worth discussing.

    Robin ~ You have such a lyrical way of talking. You almost made me forget the temperate outside. ;) Great memories!

    Julie ~ That is too funny. My favorite season is autumn. I love, love, love the changing of the leaves and the cooler weather.

    Samantha ~ Oooh! Coconut scented lotion. Nothing smells more like summer than coconut scented lotion. ;)

  13. I knew there was a reason we got along so well, Lydia...I HATE the ocean. You described me to a T! I'll go in up to my waist, but ONLY if I can see the bottom (so it's once in a blue moon when we cruise to the Caribbean.) I'm not a fan of lakes either. Anything that has living creatures in it that I can't see pretty much scares the crap out of me. I prefer to sit by the pool with a daquiri :)

    Fun post!! And you're right - I cannot WAIT to teach Bella how to catch fireflies :)

  14. Summer memory? Vacations at Mammoth Lake when I was a kid. Then teen years at the beach for obvious reasons. Watching the guys. :}

  15. Where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest I loved that it stayed light until very late in the summer, which sometimes could be 10pm! Since I didn't have to come in from playing until dark, that meant I got extra playing time!