Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Days

No matter the fact that I live in an area that gets oppressively hot in the summer (so hot that your car temperature reaches a million degrees and has the potential of melting your brain within seconds of turning off the a/c, lip gloss turns to liquid in your purse, clothing fades if left on the clothesline more than a few hours, and sun loving plants like tomatoes actually get sunburned) it is still a season I love.

The excessive heat in my neck of the woods can sometimes turn my entire family into a bunch of cranky beasts, but I am glad we have enough heat to swim, raft, play and lounge in the water- enough heat to know it's summer. I've lived in places with cold foggy summers, and somehow, I never did feel that needing a sweatshirt in July was right.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of lounging and playing in any season, but it somehow seems more expected and socially acceptable in the summer because everyone else is doing it too. Being able to do all that lounging and playing while splashing in water just makes it all the better when the temperatures soar. Fortunately, we have fairly easy access to ponds, lakes, and pools. All that water play improves everybody's mood immensely, and my kids should practically have gills by September. They have taught themselves a number of fancy new swimming moves, and although I don't think any of them would be officially recognized in a swim meet, they are sure having fun.

People ask my kids all the time if they are happy to be out of school, but since they've never been in school, and we don't exactly recreate a "schooly" scene at home, they have no reference point of the summer sabbatical in that sense. They are pretty much learning all the time, and tend to find fun and interesting things to learn about and do year round, even in summer. They recently met a kid at a science camp who told them he "didn't like to learn and would not do it during the summer." We laughed about that for quite a bit, although really it is pretty sad. The poor guy was maybe 10 years old, and already he was convinced that learning was boring and something you only did if you had to. Somewhere in his short life, the natural desire to explore the world and learn new things was squelched.

We find that the long days of summer give us even more time to explore places around us. Of course, the parks and trails we love to visit are often more crowded because kids are out of school and people are taking vacations. We'll brave the crowds for a few things that are season specific, but for others, we'll just wait until fall.

Baseball and barbecues have also been staples of our summer this year. I don't actually play baseball, as I have a residual fear of being smacked in the head with a ball, but I do enjoy watching my kids play, and eating barbecued food while I'm watching, if at all possible. My kids have been on formal teams with uniforms and coaches, but a few weeks ago, they played an informal game in the mountains, with players aged 3 to 65, and wildlife on the field, and it was definitely one of my favorite games to witness. It's a little hard to spot in the dusk light of this picture, but there's a baby deer standing in the batting line up and three geese honking next to the pitcher. That's not exactly something you see every day, but it was the essence of relaxing summer fun- people of all ages playing, eating, cheering, chatting and basically having a good time in a beautiful setting- with a few interesting animals thrown in the mix. A teenager with Cerebral Palsy hit a home run and the crowd went wild. I'm so glad my kids get to enjoy times like these with good people- it's just plain good for the soul.

I'm already hearing store ads about back to school sales, and parents talking about fall registrations for their kids, while I'm still thinking about hiking and camping and swimming while we can. Once again, I'm thankful we're homeschooling so my family can enjoy this summer fun and easy living a little longer. We're blessed indeed.

What are you doing to enjoy the rest of the summer season?