Summer is Here

Happy summer solstice!

Did you know that the 21st of June is the longest day of the year? In the sense that it’s the 24-hour-period with the most hours of sunlight. Not in the sense that it seems to drag on. If anything, the glory of the summer solstice is gone too fast. In my hemisphere, at least, June 21 is the date of the summer solstice. And it’s my favorite time of year.
summer-readingSummer is excellent for a number of things. As a recent transplant to Colorado, I’m learning just how valuable it is to have a whole season of sun to enjoy. In my home state of California, I relished my afternoons spent poolside in November. But I enjoyed them without truly appreciating the fact that some people, in places like Colorado, were bundled up in coats, trudging through a snowy landscape so cold it hurt to breathe.

With my new-found perspective, I’m more determined than ever to soak up every ounce of summer sun. So I will of course be outside for every possible hour of this Saturday’s solstice. But what exactly is summer good for? Why am I so excited to get outside and soak up some sun? (Wearing plenty of SPF 50, of course.) Why is summer so great? Here are my top three favorite parts of summer:

Summer Energy

Maybe it’s just me, but all that Vitamin D from the summer sun sure helps me stay alert. I feel happier and more productive. I can re-dedicate myself to the to-do lists I’d put off with my I’m-too-cold-to-move excuse.

Summer Farmers Markets.

If you live somewhere that actually gets cold, you probably miss these outdoor smorgasbords when winter hits. They’re fun not just for stocking up on produce, but also for meeting local merchants. It’s nice to get outside and meet new people. Also, I love ripe berries and fuzzy peaches—and all the other local, organic, fresh fruit that hits stands when this season arrives. When farmers markets come back, I start planning my weeks around visiting the nearest market. That’s normal, right?

Summer Reading

More hours of daylight mean more hours of optimal reading conditions. Yes, reading a good book while snuggled under blankets is amazing. The fireside is a great place to seek refuge from freezing winter weather, and a book is a great addition to this tableau. But nothing beats the even, all-enveloping heat from the sun. Reading outside means not having to waste energy on flashlights or headlamps or bedside lighting. No need to strain your eyes in dim flickering firelight. Sprawled on a blanket, or in a lounge chair—poolside is a great place to read. I particularly enjoy lying on my back and using the book to shield my eyes from the sun. Then flipping over, throwing on some sunglasses to mitigate the sun’s glare off those white pages, and reading some more.

Those are just my top three. What do you love about summer? What are you looking forward to doing for your summer break? (If you’re lucky enough to still be in school, or in some other environment where you actually get a freer schedule in the summer, that is…)

photo credit: Яick Harris via photopin cc

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