“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
[one_half padding=”4px 10px 0 4px”]Summer is officially here. Sure, it’s felt like summer across most of the Northern Hemisphere for several weeks, but with last night’s solstice we are officially into the season of relaxing and vacation and getting away from it all. At least, that’s the theory. In my mind, summer conjures up images of mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, painting the outside of various buildings, road work interrupting traffic flow, and other sweat-inducing things that also seem to only happen during the summer. Still, there’s baseball, hanging out at the ol’ swimming hole, and going for long walks in the cool of the evening (assuming the evening actually cools). Oh, and girls. Girls in summer are a joy unto themselves and that is exactly where our focus shall be this week.
Girls and summer have had this partnership for centuries. Summer provides the necessary heat and girls respond by shedding a few of the 37 layers under which they were living throughout the winter and most of the spring, reminding us that there really is a beautiful person under all those piles of cotton and wool. And boys? Boys respond by getting into trouble. Everytime. We fall in love with those beautiful girls of summer, and then proceed to do some of the most stupid things imaginable in order to make sure the object of our affection knows just how much we care.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting had it been set any other time of year. He needed that pool as the catalyst for both romance and trouble. He needed the heat and the long days. He needed the impulsiveness, anger, and jealousy that young men feel more strongly in summer. Not that the story would have ended any differently had it been set in, say, autumn. People still fall in love and make stupid mistakes in autumn; they’re just not as interesting then as when we do it in summer.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 10px”]Most of my favorite childhood memories took place in summer. There were endlessly long days on my bicycle, riding for miles along dusty roads, arriving back home in the evening tired, sweaty, and usually covered in dirt. There were the summer vacations, the two weeks Poppa would hire someone to fill in for him and we would take off on something that probably wasn’t going to be too adventurous but at least got us out of Oklahoma for a few days. Visiting relatives was a big part of the summer, too, as we had a lot of cousins which meant there would be a lot of food and, since it was summer, watermelon. I loved watermelon. I could eat my weight in watermelon. Good thing I was small.
Today’s picture matches the feeling of summer well. Taken three years ago, Indiana was experiencing an unusual heat wave with several successive days reaching temperatures well above 100. Having grown up in Oklahoma, 100+ degree days weren’t uncommon, especially in July and August, but in Indiana folks begin to melt at 85 degrees. 90+ is a danger zone. At 100 degrees, things began to stop. Outdoor work schedules were altered. Special precautions were necessary for the very young and very old. None of that shows in the picture. Granted, we were up at the crack of dawn and even then temps were already into the 80s. But Danelle does a wonderful job of shrugging off the heat and giving us the beauty and emotion of an effortless summer.
Summer is officially here, kicked off by a celebration of fathers who are happy to have one day where, hopefully, no one is asking them to do hot, sweaty chores. The days of beauty, frivolity, and romance are inescapable. Let’s just try to avoid Jay Gatsby’s fate, shall we?Girls in summer are wonderful … and sometimes dangerous.[/one_half_last]