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Summertime: Random thoughts, verse, and songs of Summer

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Hopefully, summer is a time when you deviate from your normal patterns, step out of your routines, and allow yourself to go barefoot, stay up late to watch the stars, and idle some time. Others before you have, and here are some of their views on enjoying the experiences of Summer.

From a beautiful Carole King song, “On the first day of August, I want to wake up by your side, after sleeping with you last night of July. In the morning, we’ll catch the sun rising, and we’ll chase it from the mountains to the bottom of the sea.When the day is over and the night air comes to chill us, you’ll build a fire, and we’ll watch the flames dancing. You’ll fall asleep with your arms around my shoulder, and nothing will come between us, on the first night in August, the first day in August.”

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone.” —Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

This was one of those perfect New England days in late summer where the spirit of autumn takes a first stealing flight, like a spy, through the ripening country-side, and, with feigned sympathy for those who droop with August heat, puts her cool cloak of bracing air about leaf and flower and human shoulders. —Sarah Orne Jewett

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” —James Dent

“In summer, the song sings itself”. —William Carlos Williams

“Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.” —Regina Brett

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” —John Steinbeck

And for those days when the heat becomes unbearable,

“Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.” —Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir

“I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on summer humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.”—Ann Voskamp

And of course we wouldn’t want to miss Mark Twain’s famous quote:
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” This summer may be the exception to that rule.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” ~John Lubbock, (“Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894).

“Each fairy breath of summer, as it blows with loveliness, inspires the blushing rose.” ~Author Unknown

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~Henry James

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As we move from July into August, take some time with your children, grandchildren, friends, and with yourself, to quench your thirst with the beauty of summer, to satisfy your hunger by digging your toes into the sand and running through the sprinklers or diving into a wave. Let summer wash over your body, soothing and warming you for Autumn’s chill and Winter’s retreat. Live fully in Summer so that we have the inner resources that remind us of what Albert Camus described:

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” —Albert Camus

And lest we forget, and who could, that life is not all lightness and lazy, hazy days of summer. Far from it, but we need to remember we have the capacity to connect to the life, joy, and hope within us even in our darkest hours. This is a lesson perhaps more easily learned, when there is something so breathtakingly beautiful like the Golden hours of summer, the heavy, deep fragrance of a summer rose or night blooming jasmine on a summer’s eve, or the birdsong that wakes us in the early hours of summer dawn.

As grandparents and parents, this is a gift we can develop in ourselves and pass along to our families. By now, we ought to have learned to find the simple pleasures of life, the daily gifts and treasures, and the ability to ground ourselves in the beauty we find within and around us. Share the summer with those you love, with a passing stranger, or simply revel in casting off your shoes, your clothes, and your nose-to-the-grindstone attituded long enough to feel the soft summer breeze against your skin, the grass and sand beneath your feet, and the cool water of the ocean, a river, or a lake against your skin as you dive into Summer. For Summer is the time meant to give us pause, rest, and refreshment.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” —John Lubbock, (From “Recreation," The Use of Life, 1894).

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