Every year in the dark of winter I huddle under my down blanket, Red Sox fleece, and other sheets with my hot cocoa and my cozy sheep and I think, "Man, I can't wait for the warm weather of summer. It's going to be so wonderful." And I sigh.
When I imagine summers, I get a few very specific pictures in mind.
First: Sipping lemonade while sitting in a flourishing garden
I have never actually read Anne of Green Gables, but my mom's best friend growing up and her family used to drive up to their house on Prince Edward Island every summer. My mom went a few times when she was younger, and when I was little I also got the chance to visit PEI. During my first visit, I toured the Anne of Green Gables house and gardens, and that summer I also checked out an Anne of Green Gables cookbook from my local library. The only recipe I tried was for homemade lemonade. I learned quickly that real lemon juice is not sugary. Because of the mix of PEI, happy vacations, nice weather, lemonade and a classic book that I still haven't read, my common idea of summer looks like this or this, plus a white adirondack chair and the aforementioned lemonade.
Second: Beaches in Massachusetts
On the great Bay State's north shore, Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich and other towns right on the coast are gorgeous and have beautiful beaches. They also have histories as fishing ports, and as I walk along the water I often wish I lived in a lighthouse. In the past several years I've gone to the north shore for days at the beach, fried clams, and other relaxing summer activities. (In fact, one summer day at a beach in Ipswich, some of my friends tried to use lemon juice to lighten their hair, so lemons fit in here, too!) Being near the ocean is something I've always associated with summer.
Third: Piles of Books
When I was growing up, I never went to sleep away camp and only tried day camp for one week in elementary school. I spent my summers reading, writing, going to my brother's baseball games, and otherwise entertaining myself. I would go to the local library and bring home stacks of books. When I got to college and found that I had little time to read for fun, the idea of books during summer became even more clear in my mind. Summer was for fiction, for mysteries that have puns for titles and recipes in the back, and for telling myself I would read some of the more serious classics.
These images all mix in my head to create an ideal picture of summer. Then, when I am mentally preparing for my relaxation in the beautiful outdoors, summer arrives. I find myself wanting a shower after walking five blocks. I start grumbling about the heat and sunburns. I remember that I can never find shorts that fit quite right and I get annoyed by all those Back to School commercials that start in July. Construction projects are easier when there's no snow on the ground, so even if I wanted to sleep in, the screeching equipment that is undoubtedly nearby will wake me up by 8:00 am. By mid-July, I am eager to see the leaves change colors so I can drink apple cider, go to football games and feel that first cool, crisp fall breeze on my face.
And then I get to November...