Every summer I am able to gauge the happiness of the early days of June and the sadness I encounter as the buses begin their autumn ritual in late August, by the opening and closing of my favorite childhood book. Summer by Alice Low and illustrated by Roy McKie follows the adventures of two best friends and their pup through the painted world of watermelon, fireworks, melted ice cream, hay rides, water hose fights and finally…fireflies. Rhyming phrases, beginning with We like the things that summer brings. It brings the sun. It brings the heat, and ending with We stay awake and think of things…the happy things that summer brings, frame the entire book; or a perfect summer.
I’ve always wanted a perfect summer. These days I feel that many adults ruin summer by saying things like, “it goes so fast.” or “before you know it, it’s over.” But as I get older, having no children of my own, I’m unable to pinpoint the exact moment summer begins. Oh sure, everyone knows the summer solstice on June 21st defines the beginning of summer, but I’m talking about the true beginning of summer. That moment when the school doors open for the last time and children come pouncing out, racing home on foot or buses exchanging plans for late nights out and adventures to be had. Since I’m not in school and I have no children, summer begins when it gets warm and I feel inclined to buy my first potted plant at the grocery store and ends when I have to wear a fall coat out to dinner for the first time. But what about the in-between?
We live in a world of bucket lists. What do you want to accomplish before you die? If you could only have three wishes before you die, what would they be? 1000 places to visit before you die. 999 things you have to do before you die. Death, death…death. The great determiner. But bucket lists shouldn’t just be for life…they should be for all fractions of time. Marriage bucket lists. Career bucket lists. Children before they graduate and leave home bucket lists. Summer bucket lists.
Yep! This year I’m making a summer bucket list so that I accomplish all of those things I want to do before frost is on the pumpkin and the kids are screaming Tricks or Treats down the leaf lined streets. This year, I want to make sure I do as much as possible to make this the greatest summer ever! I may not cross off every item on my list, but the more I do, the less I’ll feel sad as I drive past the kids waiting for the school bus.
And you should too! Make a list of all of the things you want to do to make this the greatest summer of all! And then make an Autumn bucket list. And a Christmas bucket list so you don’t feel down, as I often do, at 9pm on Christmas day knowing everything leading up to Christmas is now over.
Nope, not this year. Mom was right! We’re on borrowed time as it is and this could be my last summer. So…what exactly do I want to do????
Ride a country hay ride late at night
See a horror movie double feature at the drive in
Eat watermelon with my bare hands outside with my friends
Make homemade ice cream and come up with crazy flavors
Watch Alfred Hitchcock movies late into the night in bed
Sleep outside in my back yard
Go fishing at night
Go on night swims
Try new fried foods at the State Fair
Go to a small county fair
Run down the Indiana Dunes
Pick wild flowers and put them in vases all over my house
Have a huge sleepover with all of my friends
Have a scavenger hunt
Make wishes on a full moon
Chase shooting stars
Catch butterflies and fireflies…and set them free
And take pictures and video of it all to store the memories…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!