Growing up, I would walk along the beach in Connecticut or down the Cape or coastal Maine, right at the tide line where the ocean meets the sand. The waves lap over rocks and seashells, and every few steps I’d bend down to check one out and maybe take it home for my collection (even now, I still open little boxes and purses in my bedroom at home that have been hiding in corners, and find pieces of shells, with a few grains of sand nestling in the edges). It seemed to me that the ocean made the land move, making more of it at low tide and then taking over again as the tide crept high.
Now, I think of the summer season as a reflection of the tide. It begins to creep up by Memorial Day, slowly at first and then faster as June passes, really speeding up on the Fourth of July. From then until the middle of August it remains at its height, and then begins to recede, imperceptibly and then all at once as Labor Day arrives and the autumn is upon us. And today, I’m sharing some with all of you that really mark the high tide of summer for me as my Five Things Friday. While I’ve been studying for the bar exam, I haven’t partaken in a lot of usual activities, but what strikes me now is how many of the things I love about this time of the summer are easily enjoyed no matter what I have to do. Maybe it’s because they’re natural – an article in the NY Times today mentioned that nature de-stresses us biologically, although this isn’t news to me. Whatever the reason, I’m glad nature provides them for the savoring.
1. Seeing the sun rise in the morning or set in the evening. I love how the morning sunrise is like a rebirth of the world, with dew glistening on the grass illuminated by the rays creeping out from behind the treetops or beating down from a bright blue sky. It’s one of the most beautiful sights in the world, and everyone can enjoy it. The blaze of colors at sunset is likewise a glorious end to the day. And something else that’s always fascinated me is how the moon rises so much earlier than the sun sets in summer, so that you can see both in the sky at once, looking opposite ways.
2. Wildflowers and wild berries, which are both really the products of nature when it is in full bloom. Whenever I see a patch of wildflowers, I’m reminded of the Tom Petty song by that name, which is one of my favorites, because just seeing them blossoming makes me feel a bit more carefree. And while my love of berries isn’t new, nor my expression of love for wild ones. now is the time they are ripe and ready to be eaten by the handful. Plants at the height of the season and their cycles of life provide both beauty and bounty!
3. Fireflies. I always loved these little bugs as a child, chasing them around the lawn. I never caught them and put them in a jar, because I always thought it was rather mean to trap them so. (Strange, because I had no problem swatting mosquitoes and killing spiders at camp!) They’re so pretty and they flicker and fly, lighting up the night and showing us there really is magic in the everyday world.
4. The sounds and the silence. The sounds that permeate the summer air in the country are those of birds chirping in the morning, bees (and unfortunately mosquitoes) buzzing, and crickets at dusk. But there’s a complement to this soundtrack of nature in the silence and the stillness that befalls many places, when people leave for vacation or are content to enjoy what nature provides without adding too much human noise.
5. A rainbow at dusk after a summer storm. On Tuesday, my little corner of Connecticut was treated to just the edges of a major storm, which was the best possible result. We got a sprinkling of rain that didn’t batter the power lines but did serve to slake the thirst of all the natural greenery. It cut through the previous humidity so that overnight the mugginess melted away, making for a glorious early morning run on Wednesday. And it left us with a marvelous rainbow arching across the sky, a sign of joy and hope and all the promise of the summer season, when the tide of life is at its height.
What brightens up your summer? Do you feel a sense of life shifting with the course of the season?
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