I was sitting at my desk writing the other day when I heard that unmistakable sound of kids laughing and shouting to one another. When I looked up I saw three boys racing down the street on their bikes, heading towards the park and ball field. It was a picture perfect summer day, with a warm breeze blowing comfortably so that I could shut off the AC and enjoy open windows. Birdsong accompanied the sounds of the boys and, in the distance, what sounded like an angry squirrel was giving someone a piece of their mind ... probably one of the neighborhood cats who patrols the yards around here.
As I watched the boys chasing each other down the street, and inhaled the aroma that only a summer afternoon can bring, I couldn't help thinking that, with summer coming to an end in just a few days, it almost felt as if the boys were chasing after that last breath of summer, as if they were trying to catch up to it and hold on before they were pulled back into the world of classrooms and homework. I totally understood.
It's not like we had a spectacular summer weather-wise this year in my neck of the woods, far from it. It also wasn't as it I did anything spectacular, either. It's just something about the lazy, hazy days of summer that we hold in our hearts and long for each year, especially after a long and cold winter. There's a spirit to summer that dictates slowing down, feeling the sun on your face, and enjoying the fruits of the season. Somehow a nice, juicy slice of watermelon doesn't taste as good in February, or even April, as it does on a hot summer day. The ocean waves welcome us with open arms in July and August before they close them and move on to warmer climates. Grass smells sweeter. It's a summer thing.
Next weekend is Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer even though the calendar says fall is still a few weeks off. We'll pull out all the stops for the last barbecue of the season, grill that beautiful yellow corn just harvested, and, yes, slice up that last watermelon. Breathe in deep, friends. Breathe in that last, golden breath of summer and chase it all the way to the first day of school. Then put this year's collections of sea shells and summer memories away until next year when the sound of laughter calls us back out to play again.
And so it is.