Grit Blogs > Almost Country

It's Summer: Time to Slow Down and Savor the Season

A-photo-of-Colleen-NewquistJust like that, it’s summer.

Which means the spring issue of my illustrated zine Stop and Smell the Butter, which started as the winter issue, is woefully behind schedule. The new sandals that need to be purchased, the warm-weather clothes I meant to buy before the warmest weather hit – clearly not happening in time. All the To Do’s at work that I intended to accomplish before my annual June review – ha.

But rather than stress out – just like that, it’s summer.

The pool beckons for a swim.

The rocking chairs on the front deck call for leisurely conversation.

The screen porch invites me to linger over a glass of wine.

The early morning light brings with it joyful bursts of bird songs, prompting me to lay in bed with my love a little longer, listening.

We don’t use air conditioning, in small part because our inefficient central air needs servicing, in large part because we spend the coldest months of the year longing for summer’s heat, for windows wide open to fresh air and the sounds of the forest.

I admit, I sometimes feel like the women in Harper Lee’s Maycomb, who “by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.” But as much as I dislike perspiring profusely when I’m getting dressed for work, I don’t mind at all the slower pace that comes with summer.

For me, it’s the season of surrender. It’s as if Mother Earth commands me to pay attention, to live in the moment. To savor “real” strawberries, the first ones of the year from Michigan, bought at the farmer’s market. To drink in the first light of morning that filters through the trees. To linger into the inky darkness of evening on the porch, our faces barely illuminated by light from the kitchen. To take my time heading for the office in the morning, knowing that it might mean working late, but knowing too that the forest rarely feels as alive as it does in the hours before the sun reaches the treetops.

Just like that, it’s summer.

Backyard pool

The woods have filled in. The plants around the pool (the only place I can grow them) are lush with life. The tree frogs trill an occasional hello. A cardinal has taken up residence on a nest just outside the front door. A raccoon and her baby peek from the hollow tree in the neighbor’s yard.

Nesting-cardinal

Just like that, it’s summer. The windows are wide open, and my worries have sailed off on the breeze.