Summertime Joy

Jul 20, 2018

Here we are in the heart of sunshiney, joyous summer. Here we are in the heart of hot, oppressively humid summer. If ever there was a conflicted season, summer is it. For me, at least, it definitely is a love/hate relationship.

Summers bring longer lightness--that translates to a lightness of spirit. Early morning birdsong, breakfasts on the screened porch, evening drinks on the screened porch, occasional naps on the chaise lounge on the screened porch: a freedom of attitude that gives one permission to lull, be languid, and luxuriate in life.

Summer also brings the aforementioned humidity and a lethargy that sends one rushing indoors to the air conditioned air to cower from the crushing effects of the outside air pressing down on you in a way that leaves you with no desire to move. But, let's not linger there; it's gross--even when the ground is hellishly dry from lack of rain, it can be muggy. Let's not dwell on this though; let's do the Pollyanna thing and think of some of the joys of summer.

I read once that the 4th of July holiday is the most relaxed holiday of the year. The hassle is way low. People just gather in a rather mellow fashion, converse, eat a little cooking from the grill and don't have the stresses associated with holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas: a summer joy.

For daning out into the world in the summer months, there are the pleasures of seersucker and linen clothing. Sure, linen wrinkles when you even look at it, but it feels so comfortable and cool. On the other side of the wrinkles-like-mad coin, who can tell if seersucker is wrinkled? No matter: both fabrics just reek of summer joy.

Sometimes people go on summertime car trips. If you are a reader of Bill Moor's column in the Sunday South Bend Tribune, you may know that Larry and I have a green Prius named "The Pod." It's of a comfortable size for us to load some linen and seersucker clothing, a few supplies, and head off for looking at people and things in North America: a summer joy.

"The Pod" also efficiently and uncomplainingly will carry us and our chairs over to the beach for an afternoon of sitting at the water's edge where the waves wash over our feet and lower legs while we read or doze: a summer joy.

Reading also takes on a more relaxed air in these months. Summer is the time for lighter fare: beach books. This summer our book group is reading Muriel Spark. Born in Edinburgh 100 years ago, there is a resurgence of interest in her writing (and she was very prolific) as they celebrate the centenary of her birth, so we've jumped on that celebratory wagon: a summer joy.

In the community there is the annual Garden Walk sponsored by the Art League of the South Bend Museum of Art. Homeowners allow visitors to view the results of their intense labors in the creation of "Art in Bloom," and area artists enhance the experience by creating on site in those gardens on that day. This year's walk just passed, but you can mark your calendar now for Wednesday in July of 2019. That will be the 30th annual walk and as in past years is sure to be a summer joy.

On the home front, there is the personal garden offering up a bounty of flowers for cutting or just for viewing, and a vegetable and herb or two for serious freshness: a summer joy.

And, in the summer, there is the aforementioned screened porch. Sitting there under the ceiling fans, wearing lightweight summer clothing in combination with other relaxing activities: visiting with friends, enjoying a beverage, having a bite to eat, reading, napping indeed is a summer joy.

But, if none of these things does it for you, if summer doesn't do it for you, there always is the cool, darkness of the Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks where two hours of escapism happens when an out-of-the-mainstream movie transports you to any season that gives you joy.

Music: "Summertime" by Sam Cooke