I love, love, love summer. I really do. In some ways, I think I even loved it more, or at least appreciated it more when I lived in Chicago, because the season was, in my opinion, short-lived. This is one of many reasons why I love living in Carolina now. Here by the coast, I like to say they basically got rid of winter and doubled the summer. This suits me well.
In Chicago, one of the things I did to help make the most of the season was to develop a list of simple things to do early on in the summer to mark the beginning of the season. Anything on the list could and usually was done more than once, but the idea was to do everything at least once early on, as a celebration of sorts.
My list would include things like:
- Make a glass pitcher of pink lemonade and drink it outside (one glass at a time, for clarification here).
- Swing on the front porch swing in the morning with a cup of coffee, in the afternoon with the aforementioned glass of pink lemonade, and in the evening with a glass of wine.
- Fall asleep on the hammock out back. Drifting in and out of sleep is also wonderful, but doesn’t count. You must completely let go, fall asleep, and wake slowly to the sounds of nature around you. (This one had to be done when Loquacious Cabana Boy wasn’t around, because I don’t consider waking to the sound of his voice, as entertaining as it is, to be the same thing as waking to the sounds of nature.)
- Add a pop of annuals to the already existing ones, somewhere that might be considered a bit extravagant. I usually planted my annuals the first week of May, but then I liked to go back in June, after I planted all the necessary (necessary being loosely-defined here) flowers in pots and flower beds, and add a few to nooks and crannies around the yard that just felt a little over-the-top-in-a-good-way to me.
- Find at least one really-engrossing book and sit up late into the night reading, long after most of the world is asleep.
- Make and eat homemade juice popsicles.
- Buy one pack of ice cream cones. Normally, I consider the cones a luxury not worth their extra calories, but as a one-time thing, I’d buy a pack for us so we could make and eat ice cream cones at home.
- Sit or lie in the grass. This may sound silly, but I spent so much outdoor time on my front porch or my back deck, that the feel and smell of sitting or lying right in the grass, running my hands over the tips of the blades, was euphoric.
- Hug a tree. You heard me correctly. This was simply a nod to the Anne of Green Gables books that filled my girlhood. This also had to be done covertly, because, had my husband witnessed one of the hugs (and I only did one per year because honestly, this felt equal parts nostalgic and deeply strange) he would have fallen on the ground in deep spasmodic laughs that likely would have ruptured his gut.
So, how about you? What summer rituals, little or big, do you celebrate the season with every year? I’d love to hear your ideas, which might inspire me to start a new list, the Carolina version of my Chicago summer list.
I’d also love to start a list for the small people, one that might include some of the things mentioned above but that would also include things tailored to children. Any ideas?