I’m wearing shorts. SHORTS. And a tank top. For those of you who don’t live in the Northern Hemisphere, naked arms and legs might not seem all that noteworthy. But to us who do, it’s glorious. When you spend the majority of your year swathed in thermal fabric, walking outside with a pair of flip flops and a little square of material to cover your good bits is a sensory wonderland. The Wind and the warmth of the sun, grass, and sand and lake water don’t go unnoticed. And I’m brown! My olive skin tone rejoices; gone is the jaundiced grossness that is my winter hue. Thank goodness.
Overdoing it a bit? Perhaps, but friends, summer makes me so very happy. We’re a week into the children’s nine-week long vacation and it feels like a month. We’ve had parties and bonfires, and hours of swimming and watermelon and ice-cream and sangria. Lots and lots of the good stuff. We have taken relaxation to maximum capacity.
The truth is, in Canada, we earn our summers. When you’re knee-deep in frozen slush for five months of the year, the molten months of July and August are the only things that keep you from despair. Growing up in Richards Bay, South Africa, our winters were a blip on the radar. Winter was the time of year you wore a thin cotton sweater over your school uniform and closed shoes for much-needed variety. There was hardly a change of season.
The next two months are about changing pace, they are about doing things differently. Sure you’ll still be going to work every day, but you’ll eat alfresco every evening and take long slow walks and swim outdoors every chance you get. And you’ll stop reading the news. Perhaps that’s just my summer modus operandi. I’ll focus on my little corner of the world, and trust that the wider human story will still be there in September. I’ll fill my mind with stories, fantasy, and fiction. I’ll stay clear of ‘learning’. I’ll be preparing my mind for all the ‘harvesting’ it will be doing come the fall.
There is nothing quite so fortifying as changing pace. I’m grateful I live in a place where this is an expectation and not a luxury. Europe gets this too— everything shuts down in August. Pinpointing months specifically for pleasure is a valuable cultural standard. Like a year-long maternity leave and universal health care. It’s quality of life.
Happy Summer, Folks. Hope to see you around the swimming hole.