Bare feet. They’re always tender after winter. Springing from tucked and tied socks and snow boots makes the first gravelly beach or early spring sidewalk feel tender on the toes.
Summertime. For a kid free from the confines of the school year, it’s quite possibly the best season. Snacks, sodas, and carefree vibes bring the wildling out of boys and girls everywhere.
I remember, well, the freedom. I used to jump on my bike after downing a bowl of cereal in front of a quick cartoon and head for a cruise around the neighborhood. A quick stop at a buddy’s house or two would typically result in a schedule of plans for the day. Well before lunch time, our pack of bikes would typically count ½ a dozen or more.
Depending on the day’s itinerary, our handlebars usually had buckets full of crabapples and slingshots, baseball bats and gloves, fishing poles, or sacks of fireworks hanging from them. The only hard deadline we lived by was being back to our respective driveways when the streetlights came on.
I can vividly remember the feeling of catching a wild bicycle pedal to the shin.
I remember that sinking feeling of being blocks from home and discovering a giant sandbur buried into a bike tire.
One summer my neighbor had a rope swing tied to a tall branch in their backyard. We all took turns running and looping it out over the river; hopeful to swing back for a dry landing on the bank. On certain days the gang would arrive clad in swimming trunks and the rope swing ride was only half as long. One kid after another would launch at the top of the arc, out into the river with a splash. The slow and lumbering current was dotted with tan faces and wild hair as we all floated, in a line, down two backyards where steps aided in easy exit. The backyards in-between would become a racetrack for the afternoon.
I remember the look on Dad’s face when I fell into the river behind our house; minutes after mom had explicitly told me not to mess around down there in my good clothes.
These memories, all of them, bring a smile to my face every time they pop up; they represent a simpler time. It is likely that I would have fun doing any and all of that same old stuff, today as I push 40 years old. It’s also likely that I would have a deadline looming in my mind. A “time-to-go” hard stop would absolutely taint the entire experience, riddling it with the micro anxieties that never let us fully unplug and immerse in what we’re doing.
We all have a window through which gives us access to those old and simpler times.
I can transport right back to that lighter mindset; to those days when all that seemed to matter was the moment at hand. As I watch my own children run; if I disconnect for any length of time and soak up their play, it becomes so very easy to get lost in a moment right alongside them.
What a beautiful thing.
Summer evenings seem to invoke it the best; the light lingers for a few extra hours and what would normally loom as a bedtime call fades away with the twilight.
The dreaded shower or bath time is foregone at late hours, procrastinated until morning. Treats are so much easier to procure. Parents seem less “the bad guy” and more “lets have fun!”
Sweet summertime boasts a nostalgic feeling in which time seems to linger. We’re in a vacation state-of-mind that seems to help shed the daily cares away; we operate on a lower vibration.
I hope you had time to sit down and slow down this summer. I hope you added your own blue jeans to the pile needing grass stains removed. I hope you continue to soak up these special moments and minutes with your kids and those kids in your life.
The moments won’t last forever; but the memories certainly will.