I saw my first bat of the season last night as I was sitting out on the back porch, and the fireflies came two nights ago.  It is officially summer.  As Crystal and I ran along the Corridor Trail up at Pilot Mountain on Sunday, we talked about how summer is different.  Mostly we were just suffering in the humidity and heat; then, we got caught in an unexpected shower that looked fairly threatening for a time.  Running through the woods in thunder and lightning is not my idea of a good time.  We kept a close watch for barns and old sheds just in case.  And of course, there are snakes.  I didn’t actually see any on this run, though I did step over a fairly large snake skin at the side of the trail, but we’re always sure to see several during our long summer runs. 

Crystal said that she did not really favor summer.  Besides an intense dislike of training in the sweltering heat, she also continues to work from home as she does during the school year with very little extra childcare.  Summer is often a juggling act for her.  I, on the other hand, have always enjoyed one of the few perks of my profession.  I love summer break.

I also love the heat although the older I get, the longer it takes to acclimate to the humidity while I’m running.  However, I dislike the miserable coldness of winter so much, I will gladly bear the sweat and mosquitoes of summer in exchange for never shivering and the ability to walk out to the garden in my bare feet.

There is a certain peace that comes with summer.  It’s probably the lack of a rigid schedule that dictates my every move.  School years, despite my best efforts, are always packed with things to do and the clock must be kept close by at all times.  Summer does not really need a clock.  I wake when the sun begins to rise, and there is no howling wind or icy air to keep me buried beneath my covers.  The birds are up by the time I make my cup of coffee and the day seems to move along at a leisurely pace.  My days are filled with trips to the pool, popsicles on the back porch and fresh laundry drying in the sun, and at night, when the sun begins its descent in the sky and the air becomes a little more comfortable, I sit and rest on the porch and watch the light show in the thick leaves overhead.  Summer sets its own schedule.

Crystal said she had been enjoying the rain the past few days because it allowed her to open the windows and screen door and she could listen to the sound of it and smell the damp earth.  She called it a sedative for her soul.  She also said that most people might find that odd but she knew I would get it.  She’s right; I do get it.  I know exactly what she means, but I think most people get it even if they don’t technically think in those terms.  I read an article in the new issue of Southern Living about the beauty of front porches.  The author says he misses the simple times of his childhood when he sat on the front porch with his grandparents after the 6:00 news.  Most of us tend to romanticize the “simpler times” even though most of our grandparents spent the greater part of their lives struggling to get by and just make a living.  We are a pretty privileged generation, yet most of us long for the old days in one way or another.  I guess that’s the price we have paid, a loss of simplicity.

I know I sing this tune a lot, and it may even come off as preachy.  I talk quite a bit about slowing down, but it’s mostly just a reminder to myself.  There’s no reason I can’t enjoy my whole year in the same way I enjoy summer, but there really is something that is just unique about summer.  Maybe it’s like everything else in nature, it’s cyclical.  And maybe everyone’s cycles are slightly different.  I know that many people view winter as a time of hibernation and rest, a time when we are naturally predisposed to sleep and renewal, but for me, summer is my time of renewal.  In the summer, everything seems possible and very few things are pressing or stressful.  I like any season where the wardrobe options are cut-offs or a sundress and flip-flops are the shoe of choice should I choose to wear any at all.

*This was written on May 25, 2010.  I’ve been sitting on the porch rather than blogging.  Sorry for the delay.  Now that summer seems to have settled over all of us, I’ll try to keep up with my blog.  I’m still writing, but posting seems to be my weak area.  Go figure.