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  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Time - Redux

Repost from

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I love summertime. As a school boy, in a time before year round school, it seemed that summer would never arrive and starting in April, I would count down the days until school was out. Back then, summer did not start at the summer solstice, it started on the last day of school. Now, despite the calendar or the weather, my summer starts on June first and is gone on September first. Ninety days is all we have of this wonderful time of year.

Our life and our world seem to dramatically change on a faster and more frantic basis than ever before. Look at how we communicate. During my life we have gone from conversations in a living room or over the back yard fence and hand written letters to fax, to email, to texting, to twittering and face booking. Today we are dumbfounded if someone does not have email. We communicate with others more than ever but we seem to have less intimacy with those around us. I still like to send a handwritten note on a nice piece of paper and I still like to receive one.

Despite this ever and quickly changing world and life we live, it is somewhat reassuring that the rhythms, sounds and smells of summer have seemed constant since our childhood. Things seem to move a little slower in the summer. Work schedules are adjusted around vacation schedules and things don’t get done as fast as they do the rest of the year and that seems to be ok.

Summer’s smells are those of cut grass, chicken on a backyard grill, flowers in the yard and fireworks on the 4th of July. These smells do not change over time; they have been the same from my boyhood to now, more than 50 years later.

Sit on your patio some time and close your eyes. What do you hear? What do you think about? For me, summer’s sounds are those of lawn mowers, dogs barking, and children riding bikes, laughing and playing games in the neighborhood. I love to sit on my back deck at dusk and hear the sweet symphony of birds, bugs and squirrels welcoming nighttime to cool down the heat of a summer day. The faint sound of the fluttering of a hummingbird’s wings at a nearby feeder still brings me pleasure. From time to time I can still hear the shouts of “No bears are out tonight” from some unseen child in a nearby yard.

More than any other season, summer is a time to celebrate and enjoy our friends. People seem to hibernate in the winter and limit their social interactions to a few close friends. In the summer, I see a large number of friends regularly at the golf course and at a stream of outdoor suppers, yard parties and barbeques that summer brings. It seems as though more people are staying close to home this summer, likely because of the economy, and as a result, the number of gatherings of friends seems to be greater than in previous years. Almost every weekend we have joined friends for a summer dinner. We have sat together on back yard decks and on lawns talking and laughing with our dear friends. Next week a group of us are going to a minor league baseball game. I look forward to the sounds of the crowd and the crack of the bat, eating a hotdog and dripping mustard on my shirt (some things never change). What a treasure it is to build memories with, and share the lives of, our friends.

The days have been getting shorter for more than a month. Nighttime comes earlier by a minute or so each day as summertime is slipping away like grains of sand in an hour glass. Just as you can see sand fall several grains at a time, you can see the season move on its journey toward autumn. It is not too late to invite friends over, or to drive up the canyon to see wild flowers, or to sit on the patio and listen to birds.

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