Seven Things I Love About Summer

Some folks say that to live in a warm climate with lush green all year grows old and boring. Some folks say they need the change in seasons to feel connected and find an internal rhythm. I can’t speak for the boredom of green all year, as I have never experienced it myself. But I do trust that I would miss the change of the seasons were I to live in a more tropical location. Part of practicing contentment is to find joy and peace no matter the weather.  The transition of seasons brings to mind the Buddhist ideal to accept the present moment as it is, for to wish or long for something different is the root of all suffering. While I do have a touch of sadness for the close of summer, I find it a useful practice to reflect on points of gratitude for the closing season. Here is my list of seven things I love about summer:

1. Berries
Fresh local berries are in abundance from June onward. We like to pick them fresh and local, freezing for the winter. Strawberries start the season, lush and red, next up are blueberries. Raspberries come along somewhere in between, and they usually give you a second run in the fall. Blackberries mark the end of summer, with their sharp sting and itch. It’s always wise to wear long pants and shoes when picking these angry berries.

2. Peaches
I Love Peaches. Fresh, juicy, fuzzy. I will make Josh drive out of our way to visit a farm with fresh peaches. Not much more to say. Peaches.

3. Hummingbirds
I used to be very afraid of these tiny creatures! They make a very loud buzz when they come by and it would always startle me. My brother and I used to think they would peck at our heads. But now I know they want nothing to do with us, and would much prefer a petunia or nasturtium. Recently, I have noticed that hummingbirds chirp! I hear their deep resonant buzz, but underneath that they make a light chirping noise! Listen for it the next time you see one!

4. Gardens
If you know me, you know that I love gardens and gardening. I am an amateur gardener, but I can’t help myself around flowers and herbs! I will seek out local gardens for inspiration and peace of mind. I love to sit on my deck and watch the many birds and butterflies flutter about my home garden, and I find a real joy in putting together a meal, complete with herbs, from my home veggie garden, and in creating a salad topped with fresh flowers. The garden is the thing I miss most when summer ends.

5. Mountains
We are very lucky to live among some of the most beautiful mountains in the country. This summer, our family has been cultivating the habit of hiking more mountains. My brother Dennis is sort of a celebrity in the hiking world. You can find him on Instagram as “Albinebee” for some amazing mountain views. Eastern Mountain Sports has courted him for his posts and pictures on hiking. He prefers to stick to the White Mountains of NH, and you can find him on a Mountain just about every weekend, rain, shine, or snow! As homeschoolers, we have been making mountain hiking our PE our priority. We have only hiked a few so far this summer, but I think we could fit in a couple more!

6. Campfires
Some folks only do campfires when they go camping. We recently went camping in Ithaca, NY, and never lit a fire the whole time! Honestly, we were feeling rather snobby about the camp fire pit and location. We much preferred our home campfire. We are used to an amazing view and privacy at our home campfire pit. Our favorite thing to do is to invite our families over to a veggie roast with marshmallows and sparklers. The kids toast marshmallows and ride our zip and slack lines while the adults chat around the fire. We do this almost every weekend in the summer.

7. Family Time
We seem to make more time for family in the summer. Whether it is summer BBQs, campfires, trips to the beach, family vacations, or sitting outside at night, family seems to be a priority in the summer season. Something about the warm slow buzz of summer makes us want to connect more. I hope to take this warmth with me as we move into the autumn season, like preserving vegetables for winter, or stacking wood for the winter fire, as a nourishment for the soul.