Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Delights

Summer slipped in day before yesterday and Father's Day came with it. We gathered alfresco to celebrate fathers, our dads. Not all our dads were there. One sister-in-law's father completed his life journey one summer a few years ago. My friend's dad, living on the other side of the country, visited her a few weeks ago. Little one's dad is deployed to the Middle East and my dad was home in Arizona. And yet we celebrated! We celebrated dad's and family and friendship. And we found joy in the curiosity and delight of a toddler.

How the child tests limits. Throw Elmo in the dirt and see what happens. Hand out, inviting an adult to swing her in the hammock. What is the response? Run, crunching gravel under shoes; do it again to hear if it sounds the same. Over and over she does these things to learn what will result from the doing and how the people around her will respond. She tests to determine the limits and she steps out in joy to discover. It makes me want to be the child again; to delight in the simple things and discover anew.

To lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” - John Lubbock

I heartily agree with John Lubbock. I once made a list of the things making summer days celebratory, and I asked myself how I could bring a few of these into this summer. How can I take hold of the moments and make meaning instead of letting the summer slip through my hands without so much as a nod? Here are some of the bright spots of my childhood summers:

Dairy Queen
picking wild flowers
climbing trees
splashing about in water
reading under a tree (or in one)
the county fair
brown cows (my grandma's name for a Pepsi float)
candle light dinner when the power went out after a storm
evenings on the porch swing
snapping beans and pitting cherries
home made ice cream
strawberry shortcake and berry pies
family reunions
riding bikes

Fireflies do not make an appearance in southern California but I can add twinkly lights on the porch or in the living room around the sliding glass doors. Of course root beer floats and berry pies are easy enough to replicate. It is much harder to quiet the dutiful grown-up voice and slather a few simple pleasures across an hour. Reading a good mystery or two is on my list for the summer. I even enjoy rereading a childhood favorite. Won't you share with me the wonderful ways to bring child-like delight to the summer months for you and your family? Recipes, book suggestions, and lazy day ideas are most welcome. What were some of your favorite summer pastimes?

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