Summer Ahead

We went out for ice cream with our neighbors last night after supper. We drove out to the old Dairy Maid and waited in line with lots of flip-flopped teenagers brimming with the energy their youth and a warm summer night affords. I sat with my double-dip cone and watched them laugh and gossip and compare outfits and make plans. They had the whole summer ahead of them, and anything could happen.

I remember those days, when a new summer meant more freedom and movement and possibility. I can only think of one or two summers when something actually did happen; a first kiss/boyfriend, and, several years later, the job at the club which put me in the middle of everything. Yet there was the same excitement around the start of summer as there was around the start of school – just different crowds.

I’m always surprised at how quickly we race into summer. We’ve barely packed away the parkas before we’re in shorts and sandals. We gobble up the sun and the sand as soon as we can stand it. I can remember putting my feet in the Long Island Sound as early as April – cold, but still delicious.

I used to be a cold weather person. I thought I was going to be one of those tough old folks who retired in Maine. Not anymore. I keep looking at places like Finland and Denmark which are considered some of the happiest countries in the world, and I wonder how they do it with the extended winters and the long, grey weather with only vague hints of daylight.

I am determined this summer to appreciate as much of the light as I can. It really has an impact on my mood these days so I run out to the back yard any time the clouds part. I may sit and read or I might plant or weed something, but the point is to appreciate being outside. If I could hoard the sunlight for the coming winter, I would certainly do so.

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