My favorite time of the year is fall so summer has always felt like a long waiting period. And, in eastern NC, fall doesn’t come until October so the wait is even more prolonged. Add high heat and humidity, and summer has never been a favorite season of mine.
I spent a lot of years in school until I finished my MS, therefore I was accustomed to an academic schedule setting the rhythm of my life rather than seasonal variations. Essentially, I defined summers by time away from study and work, not by warmer weather. After I began working full time, I realized that the season had no bearing on what I did. Subsequently, I lost the sense of ‘summer’. To that end, I decided that I needed to find ways to celebrate summer so I wouldn’t homogenize my days.
I started a tradition of making a list of the things I wanted to do in the summer but didn’t get a chance and of the things I really enjoyed doing. I make this list at the end of the summer and put it in my journal until May of the following year. That list becomes my ‘to do’ list for the next summer. It includes lots of small things: buy produce from the farmer’s market, swim with my nephews, take a day trip to the beach, walk in the morning before it gets hot, plant geraniums and marigolds, go to the movies in the afternoon, get a pedicure, wear a sleeveless shirt (an act of defiant bravery), pick strawberries, go to the library, etc. All of these things have sensory or sentimental significance that help me embrace a season of the year that I would prefer to be shorter and cooler.
This year, I added a couple things to the list. I am really enjoying cucumber water – it is very simple but amazingly refreshing. A few slices of cucumber in cool water, drunk from one of my tumblers – it is a perfect summer drink. I think drinking out of a tumbler keeps the water cooler longer and I love engaging with pottery! I serve cool beverages to my guests in ceramic tumblers (when they aren’t in the dishwasher – I really need to make more tumblers). And, several of my regular guests have requested tumblers for themselves. This is a major conversion since most people prefer glassware for cold drinks.
I also love ice coffee. So, each morning, I make a little extra coffee and pour it into a ceramic pitcher, which I store in the refrigerator. I like to mix the chilled coffee with vanilla soymilk – it is a great mid-morning break. And, pouring it from the ceramic pitcher makes it even more celebratory – and another great way I can commemorate summer.