I love summer. I really do. I always have. Even summer in the South, even summer in the reclaimed swampland where I spent the majority of my life: I love it.
I love the contrast in temperatures. The sun is scorching, but the water – whether pool, lake, river, or ocean – is cool. I love baking in the sun, cooling in the water, and repeating the process to keep myself comfortable. I love that water is something my whole person can enjoy once more, that it is something in which I can again submerge myself. I love being cold indoors and thawing outside, then boiling outside and freezing indoors.
I love getting tan. I’m blessed to have southern Italian heritage, so I don’t burn easily – I definitely can, but frequently I wake up the next day just tan when the day before I looked absolutely like a lobster. I love getting blonder. I’ve never dyed my hair or even gotten highlights, and the summer sun combined with chlorine from pools and juice squeezed from the lemons in my kitchen is the only way I lighten my hair.
I love the way ice water is the sweetest, cleanest, most satisfying ambrosia in the summer. I love all the fruits that are in season, and I used to love being able to pick produce from my father’s garden and eat it straight from the vine. I love the foods, lighter and colder and delicious, like caprese salad, that are seasonally appropriate. I love that those foods sit lightly in the stomach and make me feel like I can more easily do physical activity. I love flowers and the verdancy of summer. I love the warmth of summer rain, and the chill of the air conditioning drying the water from your skin and clothes.
I love that summer seems like the perfect time of the year for adventures. Want to jump off a cliff into the water below? Why not! Want to go on a road trip? Let’s do it! I love hearing the music of the ice cream truck in the distance. It almost sounds like a fairy’s music box.
My very favorite thing about summer is summer nights. I love that the sun doesn’t fully disappear until nine o’clock. I love the scents of rain from afternoon thunderstorms, heavenly honeysuckle, intoxicating lilac, heady magnolia. But the sweetest thing about summer nights is the humidity, believe it or not. It’s like being wrapped in a warm blanket, because the air is no longer hot. It’s comfortable and comforting.