Days and hours are dwindling away as the beginning of a new school year sneaks up on us ready to kick the last days of summer out from under our feet like a skilled soccer player. It took me years to realize and be truly conscious that summer doesn't really end with the start of school. Once I did, I tried to keep a hold onto it despite the change in daily schedule. That was the year I wore my new, summer beach hat, silly thing with a red and white flowery pattern and short brim that I could crumple into a purse or back pocket if it got too hot. I wore that hat as often as I could right into fall that year. It was my way to keep a little piece of summer near.
When my kids came along, I wanted to do the same for them, and it was pretty easy till they began school. That was when I scooped them off to the local swimming hole after school, for a bike ride around town, or fishing in a nearby pond or stream. I wanted them to keep enjoying the outdoors and summer even after the new schedule was in place. I felt they needed those things even more once school was in session and they were confined for hours indoors. I feel that way still.
So the "Lost Days of summer" to me, swiftly follow the dog days. My Mom and Step Dad found them out years ago and began taking trips to shore in Maine or Cape Cod during September when the water is at its warmest and the sun is still strong. I definitely, feel one last trip to the shore is in store for my family this year, with our last back in July feeling hundreds of years ago. I am also thinking, "What else can I do on a daily basis to keep a spark of summer alive for my children once school begins?"
Since I will be picking the kiddos up in locations within a larger radius from our home this year, I am beginning to think about what lovely bits of summer we can capture and hold close along our path home. I am already planning meals in my head to prepare in advance so we don't have to buzz home in the busy bee mentality that usually overcomes us once schedules are imposed. Some of our local swimming holes are at their most desirable when the masses have returned home to their schedules and schools. With the sands cleared of people, there is time and quiet to see and hear the little gifts that were invisible to the summer crowds. Fall hikes or trips to the orchard can keep us outside till the days are too short to light our way. What will you do to keep summer alive for your family?