I didn’t need the media to alert me to know that summer officially arrived around 7 p.m. Wednesday or that Thursday was officially the first full day of summer this year. But apparently I had already been jumping the gun and was enjoying “summertime” before it actually was — summertime, that is.
But summertime isn’t what it used to be, no matter how hard I try to make it so.
There’s no 13 weeks off from school.
There’s no getting up and easing my way through the day, swimming or making arts and crafts, listening excitedly for the jingling music of the ice cream truck, riding my bike, playing ping-pong or just not doing or thinking about much of anything.
I also know people say this all the time, but it seems to have gotten hot so quickly, like it’s a surprise that it gets hot and humid this time of year. Actually, it’s not really that bad — yet. You know what I mean. Wait till August.
But most of us, it seems to me, have already sprung into “summer” mode — back over Memorial Day weekend — the “unofficial” beginning of summer. Lighter clothing — and less of it. Lighter colors. A feeling of lethargy in the air. A desire to be outside, enjoying the daylight until around 9 p.m.
I really love that.
My most favorite time of the day is twilight. As the sun is setting but still streaming through the branches and casting a shimmering glow. I love watching the sun filter its way through the blinds and travel across the wall making odd little changing patterns. I don’t get much of a chance to see this part of the day when the days shorten and it’s dark by the time I get home. For at least half a year, I don’t have a favorite time of the day.
What a gyp!
I may have to become a snowbird. At least, I think that’s what they call them. Folks who live up North during the summer and then “migrate” down South for the winter. But, wait a minute, that isn’t going to solve my twilight issue, is it? My bad. Just forget about it. That’s another story.
I’m sorry. I digress. What was I writing about?
This “official beginning of summer” is extremely anticlimactic, wouldn’t you say?
After all, the Fourth of July is just 10 days away or so.
Which makes it feel like the middle of the summer already — and yet, summer just started — officially, that is. Summer’s supposed to go on for 13 weeks until Sept. 22, but it already feels like summer’s half over. And it sure won’t feel like summer after Labor Day — many weeks before the official start of fall.
So, my point is ... we was robbed. We was robbed of summer. Summers have “un”officially gotten shorter as I have gotten older — yet nobody asked ME about it. And nobody has ever explained to me why this has happened.
Just exactly what happened? To summer, that is!
When I was a kid, summer was long and languid and lazy and — I ran out of “l” words to describe summer. No, wait ... laid-back, lavish, legendary, liberating, lighthearted, lively, lolling, lovely, lovable, lyrical, lucky, luxuriant and lustrous.
Yep, you guessed it. I looked them up in the dictionary.
Anyway, I just thought of something that I absolutely, positively, without a doubt don’t like about summer. What I can do without are the almost daily rainstorms in the late afternoon that inevitably are also part of summer living. I like the sound of the rain, for the most part. I just don’t like having to drive in it, so I could do without this inescapable summer event.
But love it or hate it, there really is something different about summer. There’s a different feel to the day. A special voice in the air. A noticeable anticipation that something out-of-the norm is going to happen.
Luke Bryan, a popular country singer, has a song titled “Drunk on You.” It’s about a girl he likes, which has nothing at all to do with summer. However, one line, and only one line, does. “High on Summertime” is the line.
Well, it seems to be playing all over the radio these days and I really got even more into the summertime mood hearing it all the time. I even started thinking about enjoying this summer like summers past when we would go as a family to visit relatives or I would stay with my two cousins in Brevard, N.C. I remember learning how to swim at Camp Strauss — although now it’s known as Snake Strauss.
Just the thought.
I remember being able to walk to downtown Brevard — the entire city limits were only a mile in diameter so it wasn’t much of a walk — to the one intersection that had a light. On the corner was a drugstore that still had a lunch counter. My cousins Martin and Fred and I would go have cherry Cokes there. Real cherry Cokes. A couple of doors down, on more extravagant excursions for youngsters of our age back then, when we had a couple more dollars, we would go to the diner and order pie. I was always making some sort of a commotion because I would order blueberry pie with chocolate ice cream. Apparently, that was taboo, but I kept ordering it anyway.
Wow. Haven’t thought about that for sometime now.
It really has instilled a hankerin’ for some, you guessed it, blueberry pie with, what else, chocolate ice cream? I still love it.
Even better than the first day of summer this year, however, is that the same day is also the first day of winter down under where my girlfriend and her husband live. I always think of my girlfriend in Australia when I think of summer. She loves summer and now that she lives south of the equator, she hates the equinox in June because it’s the beginning of winter instead of summer. I know she hates that.
Sure, it’ll be the reverse here soon enough. At Christmas, my girlfriend will be barbecuing on the beach wearing a swimsuit and sun lotion.
But, for right now, I am going to just enjoy what we’ve got right here and right now.
High on summertime. High on life.