Summer is by far my favorite season of the year. Late-spring and early-fall are pretty great, too, but there’s something about the lazy lilting energy that summertime brings with it that I just can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s because for the last 25+ years, my life has operated on the North American school calendar, with June always signifying the end of another cycle. Or maybe it’s my extraordinary love of sunshine, heat, and humidity…
Whatever the reason, summer is always the time of year when I am able to review the previous 12 months, recharge my batteries, and (re)set intentions.
Typically, much of my time during the summer is spent reading: either for pleasure (I love quick-read crime novels) or for school (post-structural theory, anyone?). One of my guilty pleasures is hauling my zero-gravity chair outside onto the porch or backyard and settling in under the afternoon sun with a good book. Sometimes my research journal even makes its way out there with me – especially when I’m feeling particularly creative and don’t want to miss the opportunity to jot down fleeting ideas as they cross my mind.
I don’t know the exact reason for it, but my creative juices always seem to flow so much more effortlessly during the summer. Maybe it’s because many other areas of my life slow down for a few months. The teaching contracts pause. The research contracts ease up. The days are longer, allowing me (whose brain seems only to function in daylight) to capitalize on more hours in which to do my work. Life definitely feels less hurried in the summer.
This year, in addition to the regular rituals, I have begun to garden more seriously. To be fair, I can’t claim sole responsibility for this – it would be much more accurate to say that my partner and I have undertaken a serious gardening process. Not only did we spend the month of May landscaping the property for which he acts as property manager, but we also planted three vegetable garden plots there. Not sure if any of the tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, zucchini, or herbs would survive the appetite of local fauna (squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, skunks), we also decided to plant some of these veggies in planters, which we have over at our house (see pic below).
A month and a half in, I am loving this rather ambitious gardening project. Sure, I’ve had the occasional herb garden and cherry tomato plant in the past, but never have I attempted to plant and maintain so much! But it is already beginning to pay off…Last night, we ate our very first crop of what we affectionately call “porch lettuce.” And while I am obviously biased, I can definitively say that it was delicious. Not only is our lettuce the most vibrant and enticing shade of green that I’ve ever laid eyes on, but it’s so crisp and fresh and refreshing! And eating food that you’ve grown yourself – food that you’ve cared for and nurtured – is so rewarding. And healthy. And environmentally-friendly. And cost effective.
I cannot wait to see how the rest of our crops turn out. Some of our tomatoes in the garden plots have begun to grow (if we are able to taste them before the critters do, I’ll definitely post pictures on here and give you the full tasting report) and I’m sure that more of the “porch crops” will start bearing fruit soon too!
Regardless of how our gardens progress, I am sure that this summer will, as always, be a time of growth, rewards, and rejuvenation.
Until next time,