Revel in Blissful IndulgencesFrom freshly picked cherries to moonlit hikes, summer offers endless free gifts. Its lingering daylight reminds us to step outside, take a deep breath and savor life’s simple joys.
“Summer is a time to enjoy the small things in life, which are often the sweetest,” counsels Janet Luhrs, author of The Simple Living Guide and founder of the online Simplicity School (SimplicityJourney.com). “Kids do this instinctively, like seeing who can throw a rock furtherest into the water. I’m happy just having a simple backyard dinner with friends, reading a book in a city park or paddling a canoe.”
Here are some summer classics to expand our own “to savor” list.
Feast on Earth’s bounty. Make the most of summer’s cornucopia of candy-sweet berries, rainbow-colored heirloom tomatoes and other natural treats abounding at local farmers’ markets.
Get wet. Go skinny-dipping in a hidden creek, run through sprinklers in shorts or swimsuit or round up the neighborhood kids for a trip to a local water park, lake or public pool. Water games like Marco Polo and underwater tea parties never grow old, even for grown-ups.
Commune with creatures. Who can resist the winking lightning bugs, flickering dragonflies and songs of an evening insect chorus? Summer immerses us in nature. See how many animals that eagle-eyed friends and family members can spot during visits to area parks and preserves.
Read by sunlight. The pleasure of reading heightens with natural light and fresh air. Pick an easy read to take to the beach or a hammock with sunglasses and a glass of herbal sun tea.
Celebrate community. ‘Tis the season for free local festivals, picnic concerts, open-air movies and state fairs. Invite a friend or make a Dutch treat of it, even organize an informal potlatch block party.
Take a day trip. Consider the healthy dose of activities that exist close to home. Delightful discoveries await the curious when traveling by local waterway, walking trail or bicycle path. Map a flexible route, allowing ample time for unexpected stops.
Try something new. Summer is a chance to be adventurous. Step into a bright, pastel shirt or tropical sundress, and then revel in the compliments. Move from an indoor exercise routine to a free yoga class in a shady park and test ride a standup paddleboard.
Look up. Summer skies offer more drama than daytime TV. Perch on the porch at sunrise, sunset or before a thunderstorm rolls in. On a clear calm night, lie back on a blanket and trace constellations while watching for shooting stars and meteor showers.
Capture memories. Gather a pocketful of seashells, press wildflowers from special spots, make bread-and-butter pickles from the garden and print favorite snapshots to spark happy summer memories any time of the year.
Do nothing. In the midst of so many marvelous options, we can also give ourselves permission to cancel our own plans on a whim and just do nothing. Simple daydreaming can lead to good ideas and inner rhapsodies. Summer is the best time to just be.
“Try to not to plan more than one thing in a day this summer,” advises Luhrs. “Otherwise, you’ll end up cutting short activities to rush off to the next thing instead of enjoying what’s already in front of you.”