Summer Youth and Autumn Yearning
Living in the Midwest, we get to experience all four distinct seasons each year. Everyone has their favorite, and in my younger years, I was always someone who absolutely lived for summer. What wasn’t to love? There was the feel of warm moisture hitting your face when you first stepped outside for the day; playing all day with the neighborhood kids; the beginning of baseball season; the end of another school year and the sweet, sweet freedom that came with it; spending all day at the community pool, having the time of your life (in between the adult swims, which seemed to last for an eternity, but were really only 30 minutes); getting an ice cream cone and racing to catch all the melted drips before they hit your hand; and summer nights, full of promise and adventure.
For me, more than any other season, there is something about summer which seems to epitomize youth and make me nostalgic, remembering that child who couldn’t get enough of the heat. As I’ve aged, however, my perceptions of dog days have evolved, and in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I frequently forget why I ever liked the season so much.
When I let my dog outside in the morning, I now sometimes grimace at the feel of the hot air. I’m not able to spend much time at the pool, let alone make it to baseball games, and to avoid feeling like a zombie the following day, I’m in bed by 10 pm (at the latest). It’s not that getting older has made me pessimistic, though. It’s just the fact that these days, I take pleasure in different things.
It’s August, now, but here in central Missouri, the high temperatures recently dipped into the 70s for a couple of days, and it was amazing! This cooler spell made me realize just how much I was looking forward to fall. This year, more than any other, I am excited for sipping hot coffee on a cool October morning, the changing of the leaves, pumpkins galore, and just generally being able to spend time outside without immediately breaking a sweat.
My young daughter, on the other hand, is just fine with summer for however long it wants to hang around. Her grandparents and I were recently gathered around her kiddie pool, watching her splash about, testing her limits and feeling all the new sensations. As she played, I happened to look at the faces of the adults around me, and each person had a joyous expression and light in their eyes, akin to that of a child.
In that moment, it dawned on me that this was one of my favorite things about children. Embracing the joy of a child around you coaxes out the child within.
Just as a child gives new meaning to nearly every aspect of life, experiencing summer, and all the seasons for that matter, with my daughter changes things, once more. As she grows, I, along with her father and grandparents, will get to witness her experiencing all of summer’s youthful promises for the first time. We can’t turn back the hands of time, but we can take advantage of the opportunity to walk alongside a new generation, seeing what each season has to offer though a child’s eyes, again.
I’m still looking forward to fall, but right now, I’ll let the time spent with my daughter take me back to the days when I lived for summer.