Farewell to Summer

It’s that time of year again. Time to put away the coolers, beach chairs, and sunscreen (just kidding, please keep using that). Time to get the kids ready to go back to school--or maybe they’re already there. It’s another season gone. Of course a new one is about to begin--it’s hard to forget since endless songs and poems remind us of seasons ending and beginning--but I’m not ready for fall yet. I want my goodbye to summer to last a bit longer. So I am taking a few extra minutes to say a proper goodbye.

See ya next year, dandelions. Dandelions are my favorite flowers. I don’t want to hear it from the Dandelions are weeds crowd; I’ve heard it all before and I have decided that it is an argument of semantics--and I refuse to participate. This is not a topic for discussion as Dandelions are the flowers of my heart. All of my own children and countless others have picked an endless number of Dandelions for me, both in single flower form and in bouquets, all of which were proffered with love and pride. And these same yellow beauties turn into wish machines later in their life cycle. I don’t know about you, but I believe in wishes. After all, what is more pure than a wish? What are wishes but hope and, if you believe in them, faith? This perfect flower is also a medicine, a food, and some have even made it into a wine. (Ask Mr. Mountaineer about his own Dandelion wine sometime). How much more perfect can one flower be? I will miss you my yellow sometimes pillow headed friends.

Farewell, long nights. This is hard to let go of. I spend all winter looking forward to the longer days. When the sun tucks itself in below the horizon at 4PM, I want to crawl under the covers too, and 4PM just isn’t a responsible time to go to bed. Not if you have kids who need fed and cared for. Summer is different. Summer is all about the sunshine, and I love sunshine! I think humans are just hardwired to enjoy the sunshine. Think about what happens physically when we expose our skin to sunlight. Our bodies go to work producing Vitamin D (a much needed vitamin for good physical and mental health). It just feels good. There is just something magical about warm summer nights; time seems to stretch itself out in a lazy sort of way--almost like a yawn. It justifies late bedtimes without the need for excuses. Until next year, my warm, lazy companion.

Godspeed, lightning bugs. Aren’t these extraordinary little things? All of these tiny, random twinkle lights sprinkled throughout the sky for what appears to be no other reason than to put a bit of spark in our summer nights. But did you know that lightning bugs, also called fireflies, occasionally sync their flashing? And that their lights can be yellow, green, or orange? And that this light is the most efficient light in the world? Maybe extraordinary doesn’t really cover it at all, but I enjoy their summer light show so thoroughly that I truly miss it when the curtain closes for another season. Take your final bow, tiny little miracles.

Adieu to the additional time available to spend with four of my favorite companions. I love spending time with my kids. I’m not going to put cake frosting and sprinkles on this and tell you that it’s all good times and laughter. My children have a way of plucking my nerves like no person should have the right to do without being tried for crimes against humanity. But the plucking is worth it--and not really all that frequent. Spending time with these incredible souls--crammed so full of ideas, thoughts, personality, hopes, questions, spirit, dreams, and who knows what else that they are absolutely bursting with an almost contagious vitality--is a privilege and an honor. When it comes to time, spending it with those you love the most is time spent wisely. I love summer for giving me more of it. Treat yourself well extra time; you deserve a rest.

See you on the flip side, garden veggies. When we were growing up, our dad used a good portion of our back yard for a garden. We grew all kinds of veggies: zucchini, squash, onions, corn, kale, chard, spinach, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes… there were actually quite a bit  more, but those are the ones I remember the most. It was like having your own private produce section. When my mother was about to prepare dinner, she would ask one of us to go to the garden and pick a zucchini or a squash, maybe a tomato, or all three. Just from the vine, holding these backyard garden crops felt like holding the sun itself. I liked to roll  them against my face and neck; it was like nuzzling the sun. (All fun and games until the thorns on a zucchini vine pricked me--but I still did it over and over again.) I don’t have a garden in my yard today, but I have friends and neighbors who bring me the extras from their own gardens and I visit the farmers’ markets as frequently as possible in order to get the season’s sampling of my favorite comfort foods. We’ll meet again next season, my lifelong companions.

That’s a bit better. I am still not quite ready to let go, but I do feel a bit more prepared. Of course, the season does have a few things that I will be glad to see put to bed for a while--biting bugs, overwhelming heat, humidity, sunburn… well, you get the idea; there is always a bit of bitter that comes with the sweet. As the weather cools and the leaves start to turn, I will begin to focus my attention on all of the wonderful things that the fall season brings and air will be charged with that certain something that is unique to autumn. That exhilarating, thrilling season is waiting for us all. What does it have in store for you?

Here are a few good links:

This site will tell you about the health benefits of Dandelions. There are quite a few.

As always, I have a good book to recommend: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. It’s about Summer and Dandelions. You’ll like it!

I can’t go making claims without backing them up, so click here to read about the how the sun is linked to Vitamin D production.

And those tiny little miracles? You really should read more about them. Facts about Fireflies

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