The Feeling of Summer

Do you ever think back to Summer days and nights when you were younger? As I’m anticipating the onset of the season, I find myself thinking of times past.

Sometimes the memories catch in my chest until I can hardly breathe. I don’t know what it is about Summer, but in my more mature (don’t laugh) years, its memories hit me harder than other seasons.

After all, holidays like Christmas are supposed to be emotional and sappy. Summer, not so much. So it catches me off guard.

For me, Summer brings up that old feeling of freedom. Freedom from responsibility, free days that you got to choose to do and be whatever you wanted – at least until Mom caught you with her list of chores to be done. If you were quick enough to get away, you knew the curfew you were dealing with was “be home in time for dinner or before dark.” Ah, such open-ended, free-wheelin’ days. Days when you and your friends could bake in the sun at the beach (wrinkles and age spots to prove it) during the day, and then gather at a concert or baseball game at night. The days just went on for what seemed like forever.

I know it’s a waste of time thinking or dwelling on the past. And honestly, I’m not. These memories come like waves and I’m overcome in the moment, then it’s an ache I have to work through so I can let it go. It feels good to remember, and then it feels sad. Good to think back on those special days or ordinary times, then sad because those days are over.

There are times when I miss the comfort of being young and having parents to turn to for . . . well, everything. But mostly, I miss the anticipation of a life stretched out in front of me where everything seemed possible, and is now mostly just an intoxicating memory. So heady were those days.

When I was talking to my husband about this and the feeling of such freedom that I miss, he suggested we try to recreate some of it this Summer. After all, we are pretty free of certain responsibilities, being unemployed, so to speak.

It was such a sweet, “let me make it better for you” thing to say, but I know we can’t really recapture the same sense of freedom. But perhaps we can do it some justice.

Yes, we have responsibilities, but we’re also in charge of most things in our lives. So if we don’t want to, we really don’t have to. Who’s to know the difference?

I think memories and their adjacent emotions are part of what makes us who we are. Our reactions and responses give us some important insights into what’s making us tick now. So while it’s not wise to dwell on the past and what’s gone, it can be, if done gently and without too much time invested, a check-in point for our lives now. And to hold on, if ever so briefly, to life’s moments.

I like the idea of that. A brief “scenic turnout” of sorts at the start of every season to conjure up memories, feelings, hopes and expectations for the days ahead.

So, as I pause to take in the view of Summer, and to try and make sense of what this yearning for freedom is telling me, I’m going to take my husband up on his offer to try and recreate Summers past – as long as we’re looking forward.

After all, there’s still a lot of possibility, and freedom, ahead of us as well.

How about you? Do you get these memory tsunamis? If so, what triggers them for you and what do you do about it?

Till next time,

Judy

6 Comments

  1. Bobbi
    May 30, 2017 / 6:48 am

    Judy,
    You have such a gift with words. I haven’t been able to verbalize the wave of memories – and now you have done it for me.

    So happy – and sad because the are in the past – that a lot of those summer memories were shared.

    love you

    • May 30, 2017 / 7:05 am

      Thanks, Bob. And those shared Summer memories are among my favorites. Love you back.

  2. Joy
    May 30, 2017 / 9:17 am

    Nice Judy ?

  3. dona
    May 30, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Judy you are such an incredible writer. You sucked me right in and made me cry and feel emotional. I started thinking what could my husband and I do on our next day off together that would recreate summer again. Maybe a bike ride in Newport Beach. It’s funny how my mind thinks of all the fun things I want to do, but from the neck down it’s saying “next time” because I just want to chill. I can’t wait to hear what you both will be doing to recreate your summers past. Please do share!

  4. Joyce Lalone
    May 30, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    Judy,
    I’ve been enjoying your blog and have thought about leaving a comment in the past but today your words reached me so strongly that here I am, outside of my comfort zone, writing and not knowing who may read this but I’m going to share my thoughts here with you. Summertime! It holds so many exciting possibilities and as a teacher I am able to hang on during some extremely hard days looking forward to embracing each moment of my free time. Today is officially my first day of summer break and I woke not feeling excited but instead sad, knowing this is the first summer vacation in 64 years that I won’t be spending it with my mother. We both know she wouldn’t want me to be sad about that, but emotions are uncontrollable so I’m letting them take me through my day. What your blog reminded me about as I read it this morning is that I am fortunate to have great memories and it’s good to remember them. Oh how I loved to be barefoot as a child during the summer! So today it’s me and my bare feet. I’m walking in the lawn and feeling the blades of soft grass between my toes. Tomorrow I’m going to wake and remember another joy of summer I’m not sure what it will be yet, but if neighbors report seeing me climbing a tree don’t be surprised. I know I’ll be honoring the child my mother allowed me to be and the woman she helped me to become. Thank you for sharing your words with me, I always enjoy our time together and maybe that’s because we remember to have fun and embrace the moment!
    Joyce

  5. Candy
    May 30, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    So well put Judy. I also yearn at times for those halcyon days of summer. Beautiful weather (I grew up in the MidWest) freedom from school and endlessly long days filled with fun activities. It’s the feeling that I long for and it is just out of reach. I really like the idea of acknowledging these feelings with your scenic turnout idea and holding on to life’s moments. Your writing also motivates me to enjoy the summer that lies ahead. Here’s to Summer!

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