Summer Mode

-Bobbi Lu –

-Susie Q –

I know summer is coming when I can open my eyes at 5:30 AM and see sunlight streaming into my bedroom. At first, I’m a little disgusted at this. Doesn’t the sun realize this is an ungodly hour to be up and how dare it also shine!? But, as we progress further into that glorious summer time, and my evenings stretch out as well, I realize how much I missed all the sunshine. And, I start thinking of all the things I need to/get to do.

It’s a bit of a love/hate thing I have with the seasons. They each bring their own awesomeness to the table, but they also bring their chores.

Summer = mowing, weeding, landscape issues, watering said landscape, bugs, spiders, wasps – all sorts of creepy crawlies. Ohh, and let’s not forget everyone’s desire to go to a pool or some other water bearing local – so my whole body image, health, swimsuit issues surface. And lest we think it is all self-esteem based, I happen to also be allergic to most living things and life in general. This includes all the now flowering and growing items, but also includes chlorine, too much sun mixed with sweat, and some sunscreens. Lots of label reading happens in the summer.

However, summer also = cookouts, camping, s’mores, long strolls in the late evening, green, green, green all around, speckled with beautiful flowering plants, travel around the world, and trips to those ever alluring mountains, trips with my family, trips with the ladies, travel, travel, travel, and summer camp options galore!

So, my adoration of changing seasons will probably drive my desire to live in a place – and summer mode will be observed happily each year it rolls around, no matter my occupation or time zone.

As a kid, I loved school, summertime was great but it presented a few problems: #1, biking. It’s summer, you’re eight, your transport is a bike and I have never been a confident cyclist. In fact, I spent a few summers just running to the neighbor kid’s house ¾ of a mile away because downhill on a bike was fucking scary. #2, Only 3 other kids lived in the neighborhood besides myself and my brother. My only real friend option was the only other girl who, luckily, was my age, because what am I going to do at that point? Hang out with my brother?! Fat chance. (Sidenote, he is 3 and a half years old, he wouldn’t let me hang out and even sawed the lowest branches off the tree with the treehouse so I couldn’t go up there.) That is the problem with living in an off the beaten path neighborhood. There weren’t a bunch of kids to get up to hijinxs with.

Summer was always a bit isolating until I got older. While I was too young to drive, I spent my summer mornings at swim practice. Not hanging at the pool having fun, I was doing laps and getting ready for the next meet. Then, I would then go home, play with my dogs in the yard- I had a whole fantasy swashbuckling adventure scenario that we would run through together. And, I would read. Anything and everything.

I wouldn’t say that I got good at enjoying summer until recently. All through college, I took classes and went to field schools because I had it in mind that I couldn’t fuck around. But when I finished grad school and gloriously continued working at an outdoor gear company (whose name I won’t state here), I learned how to do summer properly. Summer time became about waking up early, hitting the trail, playing for 2 or 3 or 4 hours if I had the time, rest, repeat, maybe paddleboard, maybe camp out, I guess go to work at some point. But most importantly,  be outside and do whatever I wanted. Those were the summer rules. My issue was that I wanted to live by those rules year around. I mean, I was still living by those rules but the weather sucked, so, I hatched a scheme to chase summer. I simply wanted to have it all, all of the time.

In November of 2016, I moved to the Southern Hemisphere. I thought, “This looks like a real shit storm, I’m out!” I packed a bag and took flight. I spent a glorious couple of months running through forests and along mountains trails. I met new people during my travels and had a change of perspective. What I ultimately learned was that a perpetual summer adventure alone with myself had its issues and became just as isolating as those summers when I was a kid.

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