What you are about to read may sound shocking, possibly even heretical. Well, here goes: in spite of moving to the South almost six years ago, I have never been much of a summer girl. As a child, I was bookish, introverted, hopelessly non-athletic, and, according to the adults who supposedly knew better, “too serious” for my age.
Fast forward some decades and I’m happy to say that I’ve evolved: still bookish, but
less introverted; still non-athletic, but a walker who regularly does yoga, Pilates, and such; still serious but a far cry from “too serious”! Even so, summer is still fourth place in my personal lineup of seasonal faves. Frankly, autumn is my thing and I am not alone. Studies show that Americans prefer October over all other months, with May a close second. December ranks just behind May – probably a nod to the holidays, as January is the least favorite month of the year. Oh, that troubles me because I also love January. The stillness, the quiet after the festivities, the “begin again” opportunity that suits my contemplative soul. But I digress…
Summer was hard enough to navigate in Connecticut, and I knew that after the novelty wore off, I’d have to find ways to make the most of the long stretch that is a North Carolina summer.
Strategies for Enjoying Summer
The most important part of creating an enjoyable summer starts in my thought process. When that first, way too early 85-plus degree day arrives, I need to be prepared so that I don’t fall into a pre-emptive seasonal slump. For me, this means planning for summer in late winter and early spring. I don’t want to just “get through it,” so I challenge myself to be ready for it and to create ways to enjoy it. I often make lists of things I will do and plans I will put in place for the season ahead.
One such list is all about my home. My home is truly my personal castle and my little nest. My list for this summer season included biting the bullet and having new cushions made for my veranda furniture. Thinking about this upgrade and planning for it created positive anticipation for the warm “veranda months” ahead. I also scanned my seasonal decorations, donating some, tossing others, and enjoying an online hunt for new wreaths and similar decor. Note: winter is the best time to shop for summer items online. The same is true of bathing suits, ladies!
Experiences to Look Forward To
I learned early on that the best time for my sister to make her annual visit is in late June or July, not April! Every spring, we plan what we will do while she is here. That always includes a lazy afternoon at a vineyard, some time in our local pool, and a day trip. This is also the best time to visit and hang out in our local bookstores, Reynolda House, and other fascinating, local indoor venues. With temperatures soaring outdoors, they are a welcome reprieve.
Working with Mother Earth
And there is, of course, the garden. The spring flurry of activity is actualized – to one degree or another – once summer settles in. While a combination of triumphs and flops is usually the outcome, I get to observe all of it – as well as the many birds I attract – from the elevated perch of my newly-cushioned veranda, binoculars in hand!
None of these strategies is self-sustaining without the discipline of the heart. I am grateful for every summer I have known and learned to enjoy, every summer that gracefully makes possible the magic of fall.