We’ve had some hot days lately, and in my neck of the woods, that means hot, humid days. The kind of weather where you break a sticky sweat just walking, there’s no breeze, and you wonder how civilization arose without air conditioning. This is not my fave season, as most of you know, and after the third hot day in a row, I started down my usual gripe: The bugs! The heat! The lousy sleep! The rubbishing, hellishing bugs!
Science supports the side-eye I give summer. When it’s sweltering, we’re not as good at quick thinking, we’re more prone to violent crime, and we’re dealing with higher levels of stress hormones. Hot muggy environments (like, say, most prisons) in addition to reducing cognitive function, upping the cortisol, and shortening our fuses, also make us less kind.
Considering that climate change is a thing, this is not good news.
But how many of us know people who adore summer? As a kid I lived for those long summer vacations, and if I stop kvetching about summer’s shortcomings for even thirty seconds, I can think of a ton of things I delight in about summer.
Sounds: Crickets, songbirds, Santana’s Smooth (because you only hear it in the summer and it makes you move), rain pattering against leaves, hoot owls, good food sizzling on the grill, “Marco! Polo!”
Scents: Honeysuckle (found some blooming today), peonies (also in bloom), roses, cut fields of hay, ozone, rain on hot asphalt, funnel cakes.
Sights: Lightning bugs (yes, I know… bugs), baby cows, baby horses, baby anything, leafy trees, yard flowers, blooming chicory, early sunrises, late sunsets, moonrises, the greenery, the greenery, and the greenery.
Sensations: Light weight clothing and not much of it, grass under my bare feet, my horse’s silky summer coat, a cold glass of iced tea held against my forehead, gentle breezes, a friendly kitty brushing against my bare legs.
Yums: Cold, juicy, sweet watermelon. Fresh strawberries, sun-warmed blue berries, chip-and-dip on the patio, make-your-own taco and burrito bars, umbrella drinks, and home made peach ice cream…
The best thing about summer though, for me, is the sense that I don’t have brace myself for the cold whenever I set toe upon floor, or butt upon saddle. Cold is invigorating, but it’s also lovely to get out of bed and be able to just toddle around without bundling up to go downstairs.
So I can, if I make the effort, talk myself into appreciating summer. Or I can just grouse about the bugs. Are there darknesses you are prone to cursing? Times when you have to jolly yourself into a more balanced attitude? To two commenters, I’ll send signed print copies of Miss Delectable (c’mon next Tuesday!).