As the temperatures climb and the sun continues to shine, it feels like summer is finally here. It’s felt that way for a few weeks, actually, but there was a moment in May when I doubted it was coming. Now that it has, and I’m at the start of my first summer in a full time job, I’ve been thinking about what it is, other than free time or vacation or a summer internship, that makes the season special. What I realized is that to me, summer is a verb. It’s a state of mind and a way of living, and no matter what I’m doing day to day, I’ll be happy to be summering.
Typically, when people talk about summering, they’re referring to where you spend your summer. For many Manhattanites or other city dwellers, and even people who live in the suburbs, this could mean decamping to Maine or Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod or Nantucket for the entire season. But I think summering can also mean the way you live during the precious months from the end of May through the first fall leaves of September.
Since I graduated high school, I’ve spent summers studying for college projects and the bar exam, I’ve had jobs and internships, and last year I even got a few months of wonderful time to just “be”. This year, what I’m doing in June or July is the same thing I was doing in February and will be doing in October. So what makes the summer feel like summer, if it isn’t a change in my daily routine? As it turns out, there are lots of things.
Of course, one marker of summer is the weather. The warmth and sunshine (and summer thunderstorms) make the world go round whether I’m in the park or in my office. Another is the clothes. Yes, I’ve spent a lot more of summer in shorts and flip-flops in the past, whereas now it means sundresses (although I do get away with Lilly Pulitzer at work!) and light cardigans. But no matter what’s happening 9-5, I’m in shorts and tank tops for a summer on the run. And a baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes, maybe even a cute visor after seeing Meredith’s photo of hers earlier this week…
Summer is also marked by more ice cream than the usual high amount I consume, and barbecuing on the deck when I make it back to my parents’ house for the weekend. It’s Popsicles and corn on the cob and wild raspberries picked in the woods. Watermelon, peaches and strawberries. Seafood, burgers and fries eaten outside.
It’s taking a walk outside after dinner at night and being bathed in the glow of the sky before sunset, when in winter it would be dark and cold. It’s looking up at the stars and seeing the fireflies, and hearing birds chirping before 5am. Yes, these only apply outside the city, but I escape often enough to enjoy them 🙂
Most of all, summer is a state of mind. It’s knowing that this season is the height of the year, between the rebirth of the world in spring and the fresh start we associate with fall. It’s appreciating the parade on Memorial Day, fireworks on the Fourth of July, ice cream and cake on my birthday, and the warm days that run together and trick you into believing autumn won’t come so soon. It’s all of this and more. That’s why summer is a verb to me. No matter where you’re spending it, you can live it to the fullest.
What does summer mean to you?
Are there any special events or activities that make you feel like it’s really summer?
Favorite summer food?
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12 thoughts on “Summer Is A Verb”
Ohhhh! I feel that same way as you. Summer is a magical time for me. My persaonal fav.
I love this! I feel like last summer when I lived in NYC was a quintessential summer for me. I was in that state of mind of exploration and adventure. I loved celebrating the the 4th a little differently (aka not at the beach, like normal). Living in Florida skews my perception and appreciation of summer, if I’m being honest (that sounds so bratty to say). Sometimes I just need some New England breeze to remind me what it’s about.
Haha yes, it does seem like Florida would skew your idea of what summer is.
The first summer as a working adult (aka not a kid, not in school anymore) is always tricky, and kind of sad. I still feel a little twinge of nostalgia and sadness every year when I see kids and teachers getting out for the summer.
I’m really not a big holiday/parade person, and I usually prefer to take vacations in the winter, so for me the magic of summer lies in the freedom of movement (minimal clothing! Not needing a jacket to leave the house!) and the renewed connection with nature and the outdoors. Now, if only we could just get rid of the awful humidity we have here, we’d be golden!
Freedom of movement is an awesome way to describe it 🙂
I miss the days when I was still in school and summer vacation actually meant time off to do nothing but relax and hang out with friends. But still! Summer definitely feels extra special, and I love the longer/warmer days, the feeling of taking things a little easier, and the good food. Watermelon and ice cream definitely top my list.
Always good choices 🙂
Summer to me is about food (I love summer produce, especially corn on the cob, and grilling is the ultimate summer method of cooking), longer daylight hours, and a sense of adventure.
I feel the same way about summer! I’m also working my first full time job and when you talked about doing the same thing in the summer as in October…I feel that! The beach is my favourite thing about summer! It doesn’t really feel like summertime until I’ve hit the beach!! Luckily I’ve already been once this year, so summer can begin 😉
Ok, I love this. Summer for me is a time to enjoy long evenings and breathe in the deep fresh evening air, grilling good food, eating copious amounts of icecream, running in the evening sometimes, and going on evening walks. ❤
My summer contains a lot of ice cream, too 😉 that’s one of my favorite parts of the warm weather! 🙂 I hope you have a fun and relaxing season!