When does summer begin for you? Are you energized by the warmer temperatures, the trees and flowers bursting with color? Are you the first one on the lake or on the trail? What inspires you to get out and nab that vitamin D?
Summer, for me, is only in the weeks or weekends wherein my life is different. The ones when I’m elsewhere. Because at home, the inside of my house still needs attention. And now weeds are growing, some taller than the intentional plants. And I can’t juggle it all. The additional demands for my attention overwhelm me.
And dare I mention the hot sun? It makes me wickedly uncomfortable when it dances on my skin. I feel my anxiety rise as perspiration threatens to drip below my hairline. I’ve written about sweating before. This keeps me from pursuing doing too much when the threat of sweat is real. Because I’m landlocked, I don’t have a pool to jump in to, or a lake to cool me. Any summertime enjoyments take effort, money, and planning.
Here in Michigan I play a game of whether or not to turn on the air conditioning. I study the humidity forecast to decide which days we can enjoy the open windows, fresh breezes blowing the sheer drapes inward. Which of course brings in unwelcome noises: the neighbors mowing, kids screaming (in delight?), firecrackers exploding, trees being trimmed, roofs being repaired etc.
It’s nearly July and I realized that I’m not one for summer. Not until we’re on vacation, when we’re near a Great Lake. Then I’m slathering on sunscreen, eating a sandwich from a cooler, worrying about the heat of the sand and whether or not I can make it into the water without burning my feet. We are only gone for a few days, so the climbing weeds at home hardly surrender their grip on the list of things poking me and keeping me from relaxing entirely.
Then toward the end of summer, I’ll be at camp, where I volunteer as a teacher. My meals will be communal, as will be my air-conditioning-less accommodations. But there, every day at 1:30, I will be floating in the lake, completely disassociated with life as I live it the rest of the year. I love this week the most.
And that’s about it. The rest of the summer will be like every other day, unless I decide to go kayaking or something. (Which nobody ever wants to go with me, and I lack the ambition to go by myself.)
Is that enough summering? Will I have pissed away America’s favorite season with my reality based life? Is there a way to cut loose and enjoy the season while stuck mid-state without easy access to water, and floating – my favorite summertime activity?
I know that when I’m officially summering, I will laugh a little louder, a little easier. But to get to those summering spaces, I will have to pack, prepare, shop, and plan for it all. It will be worth it, I know. But right now, it just all feels like so much. Because the house still has needs, and those weeds keep on growing.