The pictures we see before us are changing from sand and pails and baseball games, to first day of school uniforms and backpacks, and there are books and screens to look at instead of sunsets. Summer is peacefully drawing to a close, and the season of pumpkins and football drawing near. The beauty of summer is that is that we realize it is finite and so we appreciate each moment it gives us. In a time when we often embrace the bigger and better and the newest and the next, summer is the time of year when we want nothing more than to continue traditions and preserve the past.
Summer at first glance seems like the season where schedules and rigid rules are abandoned readily, but in its essence it is holding close to unwavering routines. It is the routines of summer that we learn to appreciate and cherish in the winter months. In the summer we wave flags and decorate bikes, and readily wait in hour-long lines for simple pancakes in the morning and ice cream in the evening, and want to repeat the same things year after and through the generations. It is a truth of summer that it does not seem complete until we do everything we did last summer and every summer in the past. Everyone has a list of traditions they feel they must and want to keep, and it is these traditions that set summer apart.
The winter months seem reserved for the future and technology. There are hugely attended conferences, and almost daily announcements of the next best thing that everyone will want to have. We look in the colder months at dramatically darkened stages, watching hands gesturing to screens showing us the future, but in the summer we want everything to be just as it has always been. If the winter months are for the future, then in the summer months we allow ourselves to prioritize the past. We want to see familiar restaurants and little grocery stores that have signs touting their long establishments and years of business stretched out in endless decades. We want to make sure that everything is as we remember it from last year.
Summer is the season of generations. It is season where we would often rather enjoy the present and remember the past, than necessarily look towards the future. If a favorite place should close, instead of looking forward to what is coming next, we instead often slightly mourn the loss of a tradition. We want the same things in place for next year and to share in the future. We want to be aware of the present day. In a world where much of our lives are spent shutting out the sounds around us, in the summer we allow ourselves to be a part of the moment. We open windows, and can feel the weather and hear the voices of children playing nearby and the birds singing before they leave again. We walk and bike and purposefully move slowly than we might have at other times. Summer is the season to live in the moment, and preserve the past and hope that in the future, much remains just as we remember it.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com