Living Madly: The Fleeting Season

Photo by Olia Danilevich

Living Madly: The Fleeting Season

By Emilie-Noelle Provost

For all the wonderful things I’ve experienced in my life so far, I’ve yet to encounter anything that comes close to replicating the excitement of the last day of school before summer vacation. I still remember the satisfying feeling brought on by cleaning all the papers out of my desk and tossing them directly into the trash—no need to so much as glance at any of them. The day’s rising heat brought with it the promise of sleeping late, swimsuits, and long, lazy afternoons punctuated by grape Popsicles, running leaps through the backyard sprinkler, and burgers sizzling on the grill.

In those days, summer meant visits from the neighborhood ice cream truck, rainbow-colored snow cones, and clusters of sweaty kids clutching damp dollar bills. My sister, Nathalie, and I raced around the neighborhood on our bikes (no helmets! no shoes!), completely disregarding all advice regarding sunscreen. We stayed up well past our bedtime every night waiting for the sun to finally go down. Everything we did had an aura of magic to it because we knew it wouldn’t last.

For a long time, summer was nothing more to me than a warmer version of any other season: I still had to get up and go to work every morning, run errands, pay bills, make sure the fridge was stocked, the bathrooms clean. Although I’d often gaze longingly out my office window, I’d reassure myself that being a responsible adult required sacrifices, and there was nothing that could be done to change that.

Over past few years, though, things have happened that have made me realize how important it is to squeeze every bit of life out of every moment we’re lucky enough to have. I try to get the most out of each fleeting summer season.

No matter what I was doing during the summer growing up, that’s all I was thinking about. My friends and I were fully present during our neighborhood kickball games, Italian ice runs to the corner store, and epic water balloon fights. We weren’t thinking about our responsibilities; we just had fun.

I don’t ride my bike barefoot around my neighborhood anymore, but I try to make an effort to do things that make the season feel more like it did back then.

Spending Time Outside

When I was growing up, I spent nearly all day, every day outdoors during the summer. So, even if it’s hot out, or perhaps especially if it is, I get up early and make it a point to get outside. When I’m able to, I put on my hiking clothes and drive to the mountains. When I can’t, I go to a local state park. I savor the cool forest air and breathe in the scents of lush ferns, sunbaked rocks, fast-running brooks, and warm pine pitch. By the time I get back to my car, anything I might have been worried about doesn’t seem quite as bad.

Appreciating the Benefits of Warmer Days

Anyone who know me knows I don’t really like hot weather. But I’ve come to look forward to it being warm enough to eat dinner outdoors or sip drinks at a sidewalk café. It’s hard to find better produce than at a local farmstand during the summer. And the feeling of freedom that comes from not having to wear a coat, gloves, boots, or hat is a joy all its own.

Being with People I love 

Although I’m not someone who usually enjoys large social gatherings, I love barbecues and the opportunity they provide to catch up with people I don’t see very often. After we bought our first house nearly 24 years ago, my husband and I hosted one every summer. Back then, this meant an all-out bash that lasted all day and night, inviting most of the people we knew. Some of my best memories are of these days, especially because a few of our close friends are no longer with us.

We didn’t need a lot of money, pricey craft beer, or a high-tech gas grill. Our friends always seemed happy to sit in our tiny backyard out in the blazing sun, paper plates balanced on their laps, because no matter what else was going on in our lives, we were together, and it was summer, and we knew it would be gone in a flash.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *