Hello, Summer.

Hello, old friend — bringer of warm gulps of hose water and poorly executed games of sand volleyball. Greetings, wine for dinner on the patio, grimy flipflops, and seatbelt buckle burns. What’s up, itchy Bermuda grass and warm, coyote-friendly nighttimes?

One day, without a word said to anyone, you showed up ready for a fight. You coulda warned us you were coming with such a vengeance. You mighta mentioned you were feeling extra surly. Suddenly, the sidewalk scalds my bare feet and a tank top is suffocating. Now you’re here, and you won’t stop talking about what so-and-so’s doing for vacation and bragging about the wildfires you started and making people dye their hair blonde. Not to mention you stink like chlorine and hotdogs.

But, oh, we do so love you. It’s been a busy kickoff to summer. We’ve been walking often in the evenings, hitting up the parks, seeking shade in Targets and yoga studios and movie theaters, and drowning in iced tea when the day is too hot to look a plate of food in the eye.

Summer, you bring celebrations and birthdays, fireworks and parades. For us teachers, you begin with the end: graduation. Every bottom-of-May for the past five years (and probably much longer, but that’s as long as I’ve been in on it), my friend Kelly goes on (and on, on, on) about how (insert expletive gerund, because that’s how she rolls) fabulous graduation is. It’s her favorite day. Even though her optimism is catchy and I’m excited for the students, I have to admit I could take or leave the pomp and circumstance. But I do like hanging out with friends  and celebrating another year biting the dust. And I like pancakes, and there’s usually some of those, too.

I have high hopes for this summer to be busy and adventurous and peaceful and restorative. I’m looking forward to lots more of the view seen above, and far less of this one, though I will be teaching summer school this year. Now that I’ve caught up with Game of Thrones, I’ll be needing suggestions to fill my before-bed time. There’s only so many iPhone word games a lady should play.

The most calming part of summer is that time slows down just enough that it’s easier to see life in snapshots — still frames captured in my mind, first behind my eyelids and then buried deeper, awaiting a quiet moment. I know one when I see it. Don’t move! I need to remember this, just like this.

And so Summer, come on in. Fill up the next weeks with your indulgences, namely popsicle-eating, night-owling, pleasure-reading, and beach-combing. Bring on your relay of record-breaking heats and monsoons. Squeeze us tighter with every breath. And take your time.

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