My grandmother always sighed heavily around the Fourth of July. To her, that marked the end of summer. I never quite understood this. To me, summer was only beginning. After all, school just let out two weeks before and there were two whole months of nothingness ahead. I’m not sure what created her philosophy about the time frame of the summer season, but I didn’t agree with it. As much as I loved school (and yes, I loved school) I also loved summer.
After yesterday’s discussion of ideal conditions I started thinking about the summer. What does the season mean to me?
Summer was all about unconstructed time. There was no clock, no schedule. I could read any books I wanted. I could play outside. I could ride my bike around the neighborhood. There were games to make up with the other kids on my block. There was the overgrown field across the street to explore. There was ice cream to eat, ball games to attend, cartwheels to turn, amusement parks to visit.
Of course, sometimes I wanted structure. I never got to take swim lessons because my parents preferred not to be tethered to a schedule. We eschewed overcommitment in my family — a practice that comes with both benefits and draw backs. But while I didn’t learn how to properly freestyle as a pre-teen, I did have plenty of outdoor hiking adventures with my dad, shopping excursions with mom and experiences with travel which taught me about exploring and introduced me to the concept of “life-long learning” even while I was still trying to master my multiplication tables. (When I finally get that math down, I’ll let you know.)
In between reading Trixie Belden books and putting on my walkman to belt out tunes from my homemade mix tapes, I had the opportunity to dream. The freedom of summer gave me time to daydream. My dreams were wild and big and crazy. They were impractical. They were fun and energetic. They were magical.
What would I dream today if I lived in summer? What would I dream if I let go of the notion of “practical?” How much fun could I have if I looked for the opportunity rather than at the obligation? Summer is just beginning. There’s plenty of time to play, to learn and to dream. Right now, I have ice cream to eat, games to create, places to explore and cartwheels to turn. There doesn’t need to be a purpose. It’s summer after all.