Summer Breeze

 

“My life, I realize suddenly is July. Childhood is June, and old age is August, but here it is, July, and my life this year, is July inside of July.”~ Rick Bass, writer and lecturer, winner of O. Henry Award

The beginning of the second half of the year, July heralds a new beginning—one in this part of southwestern Ontario that is usually hot and humid—but like tropical plants we can flourish. I need a new attitude about July and Rick Bass has provided the seeds for that new attitude. If you think of July as your life with June as childhood and August as old age, then despairing at its uncomfortable heat is not an option.

Wilting under the hot sun’s rays and writhing in the humidity is not a good way to spend your life. So, if July is our life, then we best embrace it while we can. We should pretend we are Aztecs and praise the sun for all its glory and life-giving sustainability.

One of my favourite songs of all time is Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze”. It captures summer in just a few words and July is encapsulated in one perfect line. Here are a few stanzas of this summer song—feel free to sing along:

See the curtains hangin’ in the window
In the evenin’ on a Friday night
Little light is shinin’ through the window
Lets me know everything’s alright

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowing through the jasmine in my mind…

See the paper layin’ on the sidewalk
A little music from the house next door
So I walked on up to the doorstep
Through the screen and across the floor

Sweet days of summer, the jasmines in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune,…

Written by Regine Schmidt, Summer Breeze has so many of the trappings of summer wrapped up neatly in its verses. You can almost hear the screen door banging shut and smell the sweetness of the jasmine.

The perfect July brings back memories of childhood, when all that was expected of that first month out of school was bike rides and picnics and reading under the leafy poplar trees in my backyard. There was always a family reunion planned that we looked forward to at Lakeside Park in my hometown of Kingsville, outings to Point Pelee National Park, and an occasional trip to a town about 15 miles away for Kentucky Fried Chicken. My world was smaller then, but it did not feel small. Every day I would ride my bike around the neighbourhood or to the store down the road for an orange (it was always orange) Popsicle.

We had a brick backyard barbeque that was the centre of many a family gathering with homemade burgers, hotdogs cooked on sticks, roasted marshmallows (I liked mine burned), and juicy watermelons, which were not seedless then, so we could have seed spitting contests and no one would care because we were outside. Pickup baseball games in our big backyard were common, sheets blowing in the wind on our clothesline were a feature of Monday morning summer days, and watching my dad and his friends play horseshoes in the horseshoe pit are just a few of my fond July memories.

I also remember the days when I was a kid and could not wait for the temperature to hit the 90’s and loved the few days when it would hit around 100 degrees. The hotter the better then—and bragging rights went to those who could withstand the heat without finding shelter under a tree or near a fan. I would like to return to the days when I enjoyed July and it was not a trial to be endured, but a month to be savoured.

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Published in: on June 30, 2014 at 11:57 am  Comments (32)  

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  1. Oh how I loved this post! Your memories brought me right back to summers when I rode my bike everywhere and relished every single day. Good advice! I keep reminding myself how horrible the long cold winter was and that always works.

    • tentatively I am about to make a confession–I did not mind our winter all that much–and while it was really cold and snowy around here for us–I do not think we had the terrible winter people did in other parts of North America
      that said–I think I should get a bike again and ride it to the local convenience store and get an orange popscicle

  2. LouAnn this was so perfect – I felt this in every sense – from the smells of the backyard barbecue, to the feel of the heat on my skin, to the sight of curtains waving in the breeze..And the quote – equal to the beauty of your own words.

  3. I can just hear Summer Breeze…driving my mother’s car with the windows wide open and my friends all piled in, singing and laughing along the way. July was good, then. We’re having a gentler summer this year in NYC, Lou Ann, so I’m enjoying it, not just enduring! xoxoM

    • so far it has not been too bad here–it may go up to 90 today but in a couple of days it will be back in the 70–I so remember road trips–my mom had a convertible as did a friend of mine–those were the days!

  4. I forgot about the backyard bbq…..great summer memories Lou!

    • I loved that thing–it was right by our sandbox–and I remember cracking nuts on it for mom so she could make bread with hickory nuts in it

  5. Perfect. Perfect!! Loved this warm reflection

    • glad you liked it–now enjoy July

      • I will if you will :)

      • No promises–but I will give it my best–

      • I’ll take it.

      • I don’t have to start being happy about it until tomorrow–so I will gear up today

  6. What a beautiful post! I loved reading your memories of childhood summers. And thank you for helping me feel more positive about the heat :) Great song too!

  7. It was interesting reading this post because for me, June-July always is all about winter :D
    But it was a lovely read of a northern hemispheric summer!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • you have given me a whole new perspective–our winter this year was long and harsh so it makes me enjoy summer all the more

  8. Wonderful Lou! That slamming of the screen door — yes! We had a garden and when my Mom would force us to, we’d sit on the porch and have to shell purple hull peas. My fingers would be stained purple from the shelling but once I settled into it, it was kind of soothing. The screen door would open and shut and we had a porch swing that would creak. We could look out in the field and smell honeysuckles.

    Anyway, loved this! Happy July to you.

    • what lovely memories–I remember shelling regular green peas–never purpose ones–but to this day I do not cook with beets because of the way they stain

  9. I love this post. It brought back many happy memories of my own, including orange Popsicles! My favorite too!

  10. Memories of summers long ago…got me thinking about mine….(mine were always chocolate)….. Diane

    • chocolate memories have to be good memories!

      • I re-read what I wrote and thought…oh I didn’t put popsicles in (ha!)…but chocolate memories are good… Diane

      • I kind of knew what you meant–but I like the idea of chocolate dreams!

  11. Oh, such a great post on so many fronts, from Summer Breeze to bike rides to picnics…terrific.

  12. Great post LouAnn, and I’m still one of those “the hotter, the better” types :). I much prefer sitting out on my deck in the sunshine with a good book than shovelling that white crap!! Ok, so it’s a little humid for getting any chores done, but that just means more reading out on the deck LOL!!

    • I like your style! It is wonderful to meet someone else who has a love affair with books!

      • Hmmm, love affair. I like that a lot better than an addiction LOL! Today I will have to read inside though because it’s monsooning :).

      • we got a bit of that last night–got up and let the cat in

  13. I love that song too, summers are my favorite time of year and unlike you I enjoy the heat of July. On those really hot, muggy days I just remind myself of how painful winter is and I can enjoy the worst of the heat. I live for each day of summer wishing it would never end and with that the cold that will linger for so long, but I’m not sure I like comparing the summer months to my age. ;-)


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