When I was growing up, summer was my favorite season.
I loved the stretches of unplanned time, the long hours of daylight, the sunshine and blue skies, the summer attire (shorts! t-shirts! ponytails! bathing suits!) The hours spent peddling my lime-green Mongoose BMX bike (oh, how I LOVED that bike…) up and down the block.
I loved splashing in the neighborhood pools, eyes burning from the chlorine, skin puckered, hair crispy from the sun and chemicals, but having so much fun that I was loathe to get out of the water.
I loved surprise summer excursions to the movies, a trip to another town, or a day at the beach.
I loved summer food- the slightly charred assortment of foods that were hot off the grill, the cold colorful array of popsicles that tasted oh-so-sweet and refreshing, the tiny paper cups full of Kool-Aid the neighbors doled out to all the kids on the block, and sweet, lemony iced tea that my grandmother made by the pitcher, waiting for me at the front of the fridge.
I loved playing outside with my friends until the sun went down, all of us staying out until the crickets started chirping and the street lights began to flicker on and our parents called to us from lit front porches.
I loved running home, sweaty and exhausted from amazing days full of everything and nothing, taking a cool bath, and falling fast asleep in my fresh pajamas in between cool sheets, with the air conditioner in the window making loud but reassuring noises, the compressor kicking on and off all night.
Now my summers are completely different. I live in Florida now, and the weather here is abysmal in summer. The days are long and dark, the storms are always on the horizon, and the heat is overwhelming. I like to spend time outdoors and I LOVE sunshine and natural light, so the dark skies and humid, wet weather is difficult. In a lot of ways the summer here is *our* winter- everyone stays inside, out of the harsh elements. No kids outside, no noise of everyday life. Just the sound of thunder, always threatening. Summer is NOT my favorite season, not by a long shot.
But I’ve been trying to make summer better. Every year I learn a little bit more about what works and what doesn’t and try to make small, steady improvements. I wake up earlier to enjoy the cooler weather in the mornings. I know that despite the fact it’s still complete daylight out at 6:30pm, it’s okay to start closing up shop for the evening and let things wind down. I know that I need to keep myself hydrated and well rested, and let myself have days where not much gets done. I know that things have to be a lot less structured.
I’m also learning how to celebrate the little tiny things that pop up in my everyday. An especially good cup of tea. A sunny morning. The sound of cicadas. A good night’s sleep. The way the hibiscus grows like crazy despite the heat. The lack of a school schedule and having all this extra time with my daughter. Fun afternoons out of the rain at the movie theater. Light meals with less preparation. The way the birds splash in the puddles when it rains. A new pan of watercolor paints, the bright splashy colors perfect for summer. The sounds the chimes make when a storm is on the horizon. The way our little island empties out when the snowbirds go up north. The quiet.
I don’t know that summer will ever be my favorite season (fall and winter are just amazing down here…) but I am learning that no matter what the season, I can still find amazing, soul-stirring things to celebrate every single day.
What can you celebrate today?
I created a high-resolution digital of this word art for you to download and print out. Simply right-click here and choose “Download Linked File”, or click here and choose “Save As” from under the “File” menu on your browser. If you’d like larger sizes, check out the Etsy Shop.
Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.