Today feels a bit like a holiday. It’s Friday, the end of the work week, gorgeous outside, and it’s the first day of summer!
As a kid, summer started for most of us the moment the afternoon bell rang on the last day of school. Remember the giddy exhilaration you felt as you burst through the doors and raced from the building with your friends? A glorious world awaited, full of trips to the beach, ballgames, swimming and exploring.
I’m old enough to remember when the pinnacle of summer fun included splashing through creeks, riding bikes, chasing butterflies and dancing with the wind. At night, my friends and I played hide-and-seek, told ghost stories and slept out beneath the stars.
Summer was also a time when the local Fireman’s Association sponsored a carnival in my small town setting up food tents, prize booths and an assortment of rides in the community ballpark. My friends and I couldn’t wait to clamber into the brightly-colored seats of the Ferris wheel, hoping to get stuck at the top for a bird’s eye view of everyone milling below (the adult in me shudders to remember that).
We gobbled up hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy and snow cones; spent the money our parents gave us on silly games like the dime-pitch, ring-toss, and duck pond. I remember trotting home with a goldfish in a plastic bag, a baseball-sized glass bowl, and some fish food. I’m sure my parents didn’t expect “Lucky” to last seven years, but he more than lived up to his name.
Years later, I still cherish the magic of summer, although I look at the calendar differently than I did when I was ten. Now the season starts for me with the summer equinox, the longest day of the year. In 2013, that occurs today (or did at 1:04 AM for those on the east coast of the U.S.).
When four o’clock rolls around, it won’t simply single the start of my weekend – it will also mark the beginning of a season of enchantment. Just thinking about it resurrects the same giddy sense of exhilaration I felt as a kid.
What about you? How do you plan to mark the day or celebrate your summer? Do you have any fond memories from childhood that still resonate with summertime magic?