Some things transport me to summer even on snowy days when the windchill plummets temperatures below freezing. The smell of sunscreen warms my heart and thaws my chilly mood. I should skip the Vitamin D during the long gray days of winter and simply sniff sunscreen. Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn’t stand a chance against SPF30.
Like sunscreen, the sound of an ocean’s roar calms my soul and brings summer fun to the forefront of my mind. I love laying sand-side while I watch my children jump through the frothy break of salt water.
Green. I don’t see it all winter, but when I catch a glimpse, summer color consumes me. I love the brightness of the flowers, the lushness of green growth, and blue of the sky. Summer is rainbows and kaleidoscopes, but mostly it’s green.
In the North Country, the first swim of the season ushers in lazy days, carefree kids, and relaxed bedtimes. Swim is synonymous with summer and summer is all things good; however, that first swim usually demands lifeguards wear sweatpants and nylon jackets. Children relearn their instinctive fish flaps after ten months of no swimming, challenging the brain’s ability to remember the breaststroke.
The water is cold enough to give aunt Mildred a hearty-tack and make Jenny’s blue lips chatter Dixie. Children expend twice the energy during these first days of swimming. They flap their arms and legs at rapid rates, not to keep from drowning, but to generate enough heat to prevent hypothermia. Chilly parents look from gray skies to blue water and silently beg God for just one golden ray of sunshine.
The twelve inches of kiddie-pool is the most popular liquid real-estate in the park. Children think it’s warm because it’s shallow, moms know the truth – baby pee-pee. Lifeguards stay out of this section.
Even without the sun, everyone needs sunscreen in order to prevent marshmallow white bodies from getting toasted gooey and crispy. Jagged breathes scream Marco-Polo above the chatter of their teeth. Everyone wonders if the largest man in town will canon-ball in the deep end, sending a tidal wave large enough to flood the bathrooms, drench the towels, and render the nine feet of water six.
On one of these cool early days of summer I sat wrapped in a thin patchwork blanket, listening to a group of children. One gave good advice. “You can’t flirt with people in your family.”
At least someone is stirring the waters of our town’s genetic pool.
The days are warming, our skin is tanning, and the sun is shining, but those early days of summer swimming are fresh in our minds. They remain special even as temperatures soar and the water warms. That water still isn’t warm enough for sissy’s like me, but it’s tempting. Soon I’ll succumb to the summer swim and I’ll store away the memories for next winter.
What about you?