Every town needs a fun season

Published 1:49 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

With temperatures rising and summer on the horizon, many people are getting into vacation mode and they’re in the mood for fun. Summer is the season that reminds us to come alive…summer is for moving more slowly and engaging your five senses in the great outdoors.

As we enjoy the warm weather this week, our minds wander. Fresh, warm air. Light breezes, bringing the intoxicating smell of blooming wisteria. Trees bursting with new green leaves. Birds happily flitting about, looking for food for their new brood. Sunshine that warms not only the body, but the soul as well.

Fast forward a month, and we could be barefoot and digging in the dirt, hoping, no, knowing, that this tomato plant will produce the best tomatoes ever. We can already taste that first tomato sandwich, with its sweet and tart juices flowing from the corners of our mouths.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Welcome to the start of summer! You don’t want to miss anything by hurrying past it. And there is no need to sweat even more, unless you’re also having fun while doing it.

That’s the wisdom of summer. It teaches us to be fully awake, engaged and open to everything around us. It’s about being outside, whether on populated streets or deep in nature.

In his book “The Rural Life,” Verlyn Klinkenborg referred to summer as “the season in which leisure swells like a tomato, until it’s round and red and ripe.” Take a slow, juicy bite.

Summer is life. And life is precious and wild – and it moves too fast. 

Summer is a special time in Elizabethton. There are the car shows on Saturday evening…they’ve already begun. Then, there are First Friday activities in the downtown, and soon, concerts will be held in the Covered Bridge Park on Saturday evenings. Baseball will return, as numerous other activities sponsored by Main Street and the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library.

It’s the fun season in Elizabethton and all around. There will be activities at Roan Mountain State Park, and the drama “The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” will be held weekends in June at Sycamore Shoals Park.

It’s camping, boating, and hiking season. Savor cherries, peaches, watermelon, funnel cake and ice cream. Gulp lemonade. Get wet, and enjoy a good movie or a good book.

Whatever we do during its few months, summertime remains fixed in our collective consciousness. This is the season when many of our deepest memories are forged; it plays a starring role in the highlight reel of our childhood. 

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August,” author Jenny Han wrote.

So dig in and make some new memories, even if your plans are no more ambitious than to take naps, read outside, sleep in a tent and float in a pool. Not everyone can afford sailing trips and Caribbean vacations, but many of summer’s greatest pleasures are simple and inexpensive.

Ask yourself what Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver does in her poem “The Summer Day”: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’

Summer is full of simple outdoor pleasures, such as the feeling of sun and wind on your arms and legs, freshly uncovered. The season contains a kind of happiness born out of escapes of any kind. It tastes of roasted vegetables and fruit so ripe it dribbles off your chin.

This is the time to get out as much as you can for as long as you can. Tend the garden, climb the trees, swim in the waves, eat outdoors, take a walk at dusk and sleep under the stars.

In the United States, summer is bookended by two holidays that honor work and sacrifice.

Memorial Day reminds us to look back with gratitude and honor soldiers who died in battle. And Labor Day, celebrated in September, honors work by giving many of us a break from it. The latter holiday was signed into law in the summer (of 1894).

It’s a metaphor. Between sacrifice and work – and maybe because of it – we have freedom. Although the calendar says summer is still days away, school is out, and the outdoor beckons.

‘Tis the season for laying in a hammock, sipping iced tea, and staring up at tree limbs swaying in the breeze. It’s for blockbuster movies, entertaining book and magazine indulgences, and outdoor festivals.