Spring Is Like Life

Spring never fails to impress me. I marvel at it yearly. To watch as once barren branches that looked incapable of life when coated with winter’s snow or sparkling sheets of ice suddenly explode with puffs and petals—blossoming overnight—is an … Continue reading

Summer Is Here

Summer is here. Time to bare arms, don flowing skirts, and gird our eyes with sunglasses. Time to trade shoes and boots for sandals and flip-flops. Time for the sun to get about the business of heating things up—shining well into the night so that young children begrudgingly go to bed before the sky is tucked into darkness.

Summer is here. Windows open, air conditioners hum. Pale bodies lay supine and prone hoping to be colored in by the sun. People emerge to sit on their front steps and talk late into the thick warm night. Backyards become kitchens and grills throw up the pleasing smells of cooking burgers and barbeque chicken.

Summer is here. Time to kick off your shoes and walk barefoot through the grass. Feel the green of life tickle between your toes. This isn’t the season for hurry. Take the scenic route. Let the heat slow you down. Take yourself to the beach and daydream in the ocean’s cool, blue, salty embrace. Find a hammock with a view and a glass of lemonade.

Summer is here. Bring on the fruit! Let’s have our fill of nature’s answer to candy. What could be better than a shady spot with a bowl full of ripened berries? Who can be in a bad mood after eating a good mango? I’ll walk to the market with the sun on my face and my heart warm with hope. I can find the best parts of a summer day summed up in one exquisitely sweet nectarine or plum.

Summer is here. It is the season of freedom: offices vacated for vacations and summer Fridays, meals eaten outdoors (sometimes not even on tables), no more sweaters or jackets carried in case it gets cool, kids filling up parks and playgrounds—delighted to be released from school. Vibrant green trees and blue cloudless skies. Everything bright and full of life. Spring’s time has ended and autumn is still afar. Winter’s snow is inconceivable now. Go outside and get some fresh air. It’s a beautiful day. Summer is here!

Heat

Hot weather reminds me of my childhood. I didn’t grow up with air conditioning. We had fans—oscillating fans—a fan for every bedroom and one for the couch and loveseat. On a particularly hot day, we’d open the front door, the back door, and all the windows and hope for a breeze. Cool drinks would be in abundant supply, a few ice cubes clinking in the iced tea, Kool-Aid, or ginger ale—condensation making it look like the glasses were also sweating.

Most summer days I’d walk to the corner store for a frozen treat, and then try not to finish it before I got home. Some weekends, Mom or Dad would take me to the neighborhood playground to frolic in the sprinklers. On weekdays, I’d put on my bathing suit and prance around with the garden hose in the backyard—making a sprinkler of my own.

I didn’t mind the heat unless I had somewhere to go—somewhere for which I had to get dressed up and subject myself to the requisite layers of looking my best—church, for example. Getting ready for church on a hot day always meant coming to that terrible moment after showering when I’d realize that I was no longer toweling off because I was still wet from my shower, but mopping up a slow and steady accumulation of sweat.

Church meant layers of frills and flowers, stockings, a slip, and patent leather shoes. None of which were welcome on a sweltering day, especially since our church also did not have air conditioning. There I’d sit in a sea of people, listening to a sermon I was too young to find interesting, sweating. Fans would be a flutter—the fancy frilly ones that opened and closed like an accordion, the religious fans that looked like pieces of cardboard stapled to an oversized popsicle stick and usually depicting a picture of Jesus surrounded by children (or carrying a lamb under his arm) or a bible verse written across the picture of a sunbeam piercing the clouds. Then there were those who had makeshift fans: hats, church bulletins, magazines—anything you could wave in front of your face to feel cooler.

Sitting in church, sweating and bored, and all to aware of our cumulative stench, I’d count the minutes until I could go home, divest myself of my sticky, sweaty clothes, take a cool shower, and then prop myself up on the couch with a glass of something cold in my hand, and the living room fan focused on me and set to its top speed.