Summer Is For We Old, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:02am

I was driving through town yesterday, California blue sky filling my dashboard, and I wondered, “Was summer different when I was young?”

The thing is, I don’t remember Summer, per se. I remember some days swinging, some days alone in meadows, some days at school when sun shone in the windows and hit the table as I worked. I think Summer, the California sort at least, is too big for a child to grasp. Children experience the moment more strongly than we do but the seasons, less.

That’s something to love about getting older. I remember yesterday, but I also remember tomorrow. The tomorrow from last year and the year before. Yes, we relinquish our hold on the immediate as we age. Yes, our senses weaken. But the accompanying distance makes it easier to see patterns, that proverbial big picture.

I think the task is to find our same strong joy in rhythmic passage as children do in the single flash. We recognize the highs and lows. I didn’t know then but I do now that the absolute peak of California’s summer happens right at Nordic Midsommar. Next year I’ll celebrate. Making the most of my time.

I think we also get to ignore any melancholy brought by perspective, and its inevitable view of the end, and just enjoy the little known fact that Summer is also for the older. How great that we don’t run out of surprises.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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  • I was also thinking about summer the other day as I was driving, and it took me to the times when my children were young. That’s when I rediscovered the seasons. Although the summer sun here in our part of California can become overwhelming for me if it doesn’t vary over the days, it also reminds me of the freedom we had to explore outdoors, to go to the pool, and to retreat to the cool floors of the kitchen to try making some new treat. (Apparently I’m ignoring the stressful years of finding summer childcare for my youngest. But those moments still existed.)

    Summer was a lot different when I was growing up in Kansas – endless, of course, and hot and humid. I read a lot of books and helped with a lot of housework and got to go to the city pool occasionally.

    My goodness, I could write my own blog entry about this if I had a blog as there are plenty more details.

  • Is it just my perception that the concept of “Nordic Misommar” seems to be discussed everywhere this year, or is this really the “new thing” that social media is abuzz over? I don’t recall reading that much about it in the past. It was “summer solstice” and that was it!
    I have fond memories of halcyon days as a child, but I enjoy summer more than ever at 54.

  • I’m with Cathy on summer meaning freedom to me as a child in a small town. Unsupervised visits to the pool at the Y with friends, or catching fireflies in a jar after supper with the neighborhood kids, and the coveted privilege to stay out until it got dark. It was a small taste of adulthood and the memories are all good.

  • Being up north and a mix of Celts & Vikings, we bow to the the Scandi midsummer customs and dance round our standing stones whilst marvelling at it still being light at Often we can count our summer days on one hand.
    As a child I remember playing in the farm fields and being given our traditional sweetie back then – a ‘poke’ of raw sugar and two sticks of rhubarb from the garden and the command to go off and lose myself.

    11:35 am
    Tabitha said...

    Must change that to Norse/Picts/Gaels before the Internet police lose it.

  • Growing up in a northern, midwestern state, summers were a distinct and special season. Now, living my life in an even more northern midwestern state, summer is a precious, precious commodity, with every single moment of sunshine to be valued.

    As a child, summer seemed, in June, to stretch out far ahead of us, with days and days of summer adventure to look forward to. Today, in my senior years, it seems that summer, like life, careens along so fast that I barely catch my breath and its fall already.

    I have a California daughter, and I understand the loss of distinct seasons (you may think that you have them, but really not so much) and how it changes your life view (we visit and can’t believe they are inside…but the sun is shining…how dare they?). We make the most of every summer day here…every single minute of it!

  • I realized as an adult how illusory summer is. At the front end, it stretches on to infinity. So much time ahead or so it seems. Then it rips by and before long the 4th of July holiday flags the halfway point and you panic, especially when Target starts throwing school supplies on the shelves. I am now careful to savor summer in ways I did not need to as a child when every sunny day was spent in a pool and every night was lit by the dance of lightening bugs as we played games and told ghost stories untill parents forced us to come inside.

  • I’m really enjoying having more distinct seasons in England than in northern New Zealand. It does mean that any hint of sun has Brits all sitting in the park, lunching outside, in the beer garden etc. even if it’s actually quite cold. Sun is so precious!

  • Childhood summers for me were weeks at camp in the mountains, swimming at the local “plunge”, an occasional trek to the beach, ice cream bars that melted too quickly, and playing outside until the sun went down.

    Loving cool mornings, and snuggling under piles of blankets at night, now summer means 12 more weeks until fall, my favorite season!

  • I miss my childhood summers which were so carefree. No school, beach clubs, tanning (without thinking of skin cancer every 10 seconds.) The summer was such an abrupt change in the rhythm of my life as a child, and such a fun one, that I can still smell the Coppertone and Bain de Soleil.

    I find as I age, that the seasons sort of run together, especially here in Los Angeles, where there’s not much change of climate to remind me of much.

    I love your post, but I guess I feel the opposite of it in some ways.

  • I am trying to enjoy every moment of my summer. Walk a little slower, stay outside as long as possible, drink delicious cool drinks with lots of ice, cook with herbs, read lots of books and sleep with the air conditioning off whenever possible just the overhead fan turning slowly.

    You’re right: summer not just for the young!

    xo J

  • All hail summer, the grandest of seasons! Get out and enjoy it, people!

  • Brilliant Lisa…you encapsulated it so well. My summer’s blend from one to another, I often feel like I am in a weather warp but you are so right…it’s wonderful that we do not run out of surprises. The age of wisdom…or wisdom of a great place to be. Best wishes for a fab week…xx

  • I think I am as dedicated to the pursuit of summer as my young children are – it is such a marked change for us both in weather and activity that we cannot help but remember. We always throw in a few old fashioned road trips as well to help cement the memories, and already mine will start a conversation with “Remember the summer that we …”

  • When we are in midst of summer and I want it to never end, I recall living in Fresno where not a cloud in the sky could be seen from Memorial Day to Columbus Day and my children were too hot to wear Halloween costumes.

    Life is full when there are contrasts, lean and full.

  • Summer has never been my favorite season–the light too bright, the temperatures (elsewhere, not here in the Bay Area) too warm. I tend to get a little melancholy noting the passing of time as I watch the hope of a spring garden turn into a blowsy past-its-prime August mess. But there are moments–an occasional warm summer night or a day at the beach that give me a glimpse into the delight others feel when the forecaster says the temperatures will climb into the 80s +.