For me, Summer is all about simple pleasure and new adventures. Winter is more about routine and the comfort of everyday life, and spring and fall are about the transitions in life (school, weather, sports, etc.) Summer is the season that holds the most magic as it has the potential for the most memories.
When I was a kid, we spent summers with my cousins, near the water. We were either in Vancouver, where they lived, or by a lake somewhere in BC. We always had a great time together, like a band of pirates we were. There were some amazing adventures.
I learned to do a somersault off a dock, learned how NOT to waterski (make sure you let go of the rope when you fall), and I made clay and sand sculptures on the beach. I hiked up Illecillewaet Glacier (well, part of the way, with my little legs – I think I was 7?)
My cousins and I discovered flattened frogs at the roadside in the Kootenays the years we stayed on Kootenay Lake. When I was 5 years old, I saw a muskrat my first time in a canoe, and a foal being born the summer we spent near Canim Lake in Caribou Country. Our family dog learned how to swim when she wandered off a sinking dock that summer, too.
Summers in the city were plenty of fun too. Rollerskating and popsicle-eating were favourite pastimes. We liked those frozen tubes called Freezies – remember them? They came in a psychedelic rainbow of wonderfully unnatural colours. Second Beach in Stanley Park was the locale for more beach days and Freezies consumed than I could ever count.
For much of my adult life, I have worked much of the summer and so my first-hand exposure to the spirit of the season has been limited. On our one yearly getaway in past years to Perrygin Lake in Washington, I was heartened to see kids fishing for craw dads, learning how to dive off the dock, and generally make their own good time.
My hubby and I floated the Methow River (something I highly recommend, despite your hind end going numb within minutes of exposure to the glacial water).
We played cornhole, also known as bean bag toss or bag-o, depending on where you come from. We saw the kids eating “otter pops” (the current version of a Freezie). Everyone had new summer memories to take home.
I am fortunate to work in situations where I see that the spirit of summer lives on. We cater pool parties full of silly antics, and family reunions with simple (non-video) games anyone can win. This year the upside of not working is that we have more time for camping and enjoying our lovely outdoors here in .BC. We have seen families still enjoying a simple good time and it warms my heart.
I must admit it’s nice to know I can still perform a respectable cannonball off a dock and roast a mean marshmallow over the campfire (even if it’s propane-fueled when the fire danger is high). There is much to be gained in retaining the spirit of childhood in the summer sun.
Please indulge in this tradition, especially in a year when there are many other usual things we aren’t doing. Have a s’more, dive or jump off a dock… or at least cheer on the little people you know. If it doesn’t make you remember the secret of life, try it one more time. You’ll see what I mean.
As I sit by the tree and its twinkling lights, I am washed with waves of melancholy. It’s all over for another year. That always makes me sad.
The stockings are down from the mantle, the gifts under the tree have been opened and the turkey has been cooked. The dishes are done, and the wrapping is in the recycle bin. All the pomp and ceremony is done.
I always feel a bit bereft afterwards. Perhaps some of that comes from getting older, as things change. Family members are busy and it’s harder to gather together. There is something to be said for spreading the spirit around (when “more” is about more time together and not so much more stuff, then that’s a very good thing.)
Some of the old traditions disappear as we get older – has anyone else noticed how hard it is to find mandarin oranges and regular sized, regular flavoured candy canes? New traditions can be hard to start up – how do we blend them in so there is some thread of the old nostalgia carried on alongside new attitudes and philosophies?
I love Christmas. I love the excitement of planning, the joy of sharing, the gratitude that comes from giving. People try harder to remember the good in each other during the holiday season.
The only way I know to make the empty feeling disappear is to revive the Christmas spirit in my heart. I don’t just believe during the month of December, so I’ve decided I’m going to actively represent my belief each and every month of the year.
Maybe this is another name for random acts of kindness, or paying it forward. My efforts will evolve, and I hope they will expand. Just as Santa’s workshop has expanded with the growing population, the world needs more believers to maintain a positive force to balance the cynicism and polarized attitudes.
I’m feeling a bit better now that I have a plan. Does anyone know where I can get some pointy shoes?