Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome Summer!

My kind of fast food: raspberries, nature's sweet candy and a summer delight.

On this summer solstice, reflect on your favorite summer memories as a child, and what you most look forward to. Has it changed much? Favorite childhood summer memories: watching fireflies, searching the backyard for a twig for a spear for marshmallows for toasting, swimming, and something we never appreciate: having the summer off.

Keith Donohue, in his haunting Angels of Destruction, talked about the "endless nirvana of doing nothing at all" that summer offers. We need a little more "nothing" in our harried lives.

Some delights I anticipate each year: going to the beach, lazy weekend naps, the air perfumed with honeysuckle, reading in a shady breeze on a lounge chair. Also...

Eating outdoors: on the patio, at a quaint cafe, on a picnic blanket, or at the farm. At Demarest Farm in Hillsdale, New Jersey, shaded picnic benches await just beyond this cheerful scene.

Lemonade stands. Learn about the history of lemonade from FoodTimeline.org.

It's comforting to know 50 cents can still buy you refreshment on a hot summer day.

Early evening strolls in the park with the family's adopted dog, Scotty, who doesn't seem to care at all (nor do I) if I'm not beach body ready (what a ridiculous concept). How much people fret needlessly over their appearances in the summer. Animals seem to have their priorities in order: love, food, home, play, rest (all cherished four letter words).

Farmers markets abundant with summer's bounty. At the Thursday Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, Katchkie Farm has spearmint basil ice tea, $2, an infusion that transports me straight to the garden and not bustling 42nd Street.

I can just smell the basil looking at this picture. For me, no manmade perfume created in a laboratory can compete with the perfume of nature.

While I keep my suit on, I love swimming, including the peacefulness at night. R.E.M.'s poetic Nightswimming (from their Automatic for the People record) is a favorite anthem for summer.

"Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago.
Turnaround backward so the windshield shows.
Every streetlight reveals a picture in reverse.

Still it's so much clearer.
I forgot my shirt at the water's edge.
The moon is low tonight.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
I'm not sure all these people understand.
It's not like years ago.
The fear of getting caught. The recklessness of water.
They cannot see me naked.
These thing they go away replaced by everyday.

Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September's coming soon.
I'm pining for the moon.
And what if there were two side by side in orbit around the fairest sun."

Enjoy the delights of summer.


  1. Ah...the perfume of nature.

    Yesterday I did my 1st volunteer stint at my local CSA.
    Boy do I reek of the perfumes of nature.
    And what to do with Scapes?
    Wanna trade for raspberries?
    You make NJ sound so bucolic
    I never know how to do nothing summer or winter..

  2. Hi Carol. I've never done a CSA, hope you enjoy it! Since I have so many farms near me, I like going each weekend. Some women covet expensive shoes and handbags - I covet the arrival of the first local sweet corn and white flesh peaches!