A logic all their own

I can't help but feel hopeful when I walk past this scene to the mailbox each day. Our Alexandria neighborhood, May 2015

I can’t help but feel hopeful when I walk past this scene to the mailbox each day.
Our Alexandria neighborhood, May 2015

“Summers had a logic all their own and they always brought something out in me…they made me want to believe.”  — Benjamin Alire Sáenz

As incredible as it seems to me, the summer is already beginning to wind down.  The days are getting shorter and there have been a few touches of cool weather here and there that remind me it won’t always be hot, or even warm.

I always see the end of summer with mixed emotions, don’t you?  I can’t remember a summer that didn’t seem unusually short.  I don’t think of it as my favorite season, but the words quoted above definitely struck a chord with me.  Summer does have its own agenda, and part of it shouts to me: “SLOW DOWN and take it easy!” no matter how much activity I try to cram into its three-month duration.

Summer makes me want to believe that good things are possible.  Children are playing outside, the ice cream truck joins the birds in sending musical notes into the air, and the evenings find neighbors sitting on their porches or decks, or walking their dogs in the cool of those wonderfully shady hours just before the sunlight disappears altogether.  Watering the plants, weeding and tending the lawn take precedence over staying indoors cooking, cleaning or working on homework with the kids.  The exposure to daylight really does boost our moods, or at least it seems to do that for me.

What are your plans for the remainder of the summer?  I hope that your travels and other urgent activities are mostly behind you, so you can take your time to relish the warm early mornings and cool evenings for a few more weeks.  What does the summer bring out in you?


  1. I love those seats… just perfect colours in that beautiful garden.
    I am hoping to extend my summer with my new indoor growing space – I have peppers and chillies that are only just starting to fruit, so my summer may extend into the autumn somewhat this year… what a treat!

    • Wow, fresh peppers sound wonderful; it will be great if you can have them bearing into the fall. All that vitamin C will keep you healthy for winter! I love the milder green and red peppers, and used to take a lot of kidding about how I put green pepper in almost everything I cooked. I am thinking of trying a raised bed veggie garden next year, if I can find a spot sunny enough. But growing them indoors would really be great. Did you get a greenhouse?

  2. bobmielke

    As I was driving the 160 miles into Washington Saturday I was commenting to my companion, Liz, how the trees had started to pick up color already. We traditionally peak mid-October so this is just the beginning. I’m preparing for my big move October 2 not only physically but emotionally. I’ve made some wonderful friends since moving here that I will certainly miss. My only consolation is that I taught most of them how to use the internet so I can remain in contact with them. 🙂

    • Bob, the internet is indeed a great blessing to those of us who end up moving around. Many of the folks who comment on this blog are people we know from our happy times in other locations. We miss them all, but it’s definitely easier to stay in touch now than it was even 20 years ago. I wonder if autumn will come early this year? I saw a single gold leaf on our cherry blossom tree today — they are always the first to turn — and our weather was SO cool today and yesterday. Sounds as if you might get a touch of fall foliage before you head east. Then you’ll get to New England just in time for the really big show. My sympathy is with you on the move. Even when we were excited about where we were going, it was always difficult to say goodbye.

  3. Good Monday morning, Julia. Oh, summer musings make me smile! Living at the beach has a pattern, rituals, and a CLOCK all its own. We watch families come and go and the routines are much the same. The first night (usually Saturday) with the squeals and excitement of arrival and then the last night (usually Friday) of packing the car and preparing for the trip home with another vacation over. So often, they take group photos, they blow car horns as they leave, and smile with the memories. This repeats 10-12 times and then it’s quiet! Since 1985 we’ve seen this time and again. I suppose we have our own summer clock, too. I love early summer mornings, opening umbrellas on the deck and terrace to create the cooling shade that we’ll enjoy throughout the day. I enjoy watering the flowers and starting my day outside, a bonus of summer. By August, as per your description, it really does seem to have passed quickly. I hope all is well with you and yours… Enjoy your walk to the mailbox, so beautiful! 🌻🌞

    • Hi Sheila, reading your descriptions made me wonder whether you have ever read any of Maeve Binchy’s wonderful books that are set in a seaside town in Ireland, where the rhythms are similar, with three months being much busier than the other nine. I also imagined the “Friday” families leaving with all the kids and parents exhausted and the dog still lively (as in the famous Normal Rockwell picture; scroll down to see the one I’m referring to). It must be great fun to see all the excitement each year. Part of the magic of living by the ocean. I had a lovely walk tonight; hope your weather is as mild as ours!

      • Good Tuesday morning, Julia. I loved the Norman Rockwell “Going and Coming1947”!
        That was then, but so much of the emotion portrayed is still the same. Vacationers do not travel as light as they used to, though. We’ve seen them arrive with utility trailers, grills, golf carts, patio furniture, chest freezer….. You name it! 😂 I think I would enjoy Maeve Binchy. Do you have a favorite?

        • Sheila, I’ve noticed that nobody seems to travel as light anymore; the size and scope of baby carriages and strollers just blows me away now. They need their own lane on the sidewalk! I think what a hassle it must be to lug those things around. We had a double stroller for Drew and Matt, and that was bad enough, but it was smaller than the big single-baby strollers they have now. BUT, having said that, the airlines and their pesky baggage fees have changed that somewhat for those of us who are cheaper more frugal.

          I loved all of Maeve Binchy’s books, but two that are set by the water are The Glass Lake and Echoes. Some of her books feature characters from earlier books, so it’s best to read them in order if possible, although they aren’t sequels. I think her first book was Light a Penny Candle and I really liked it, but I can’t remember whether it’s set in a seaside town. Want me to have one of her books sent to you from my paperback swap? They’re used, but normally in very good condition.

  4. Carolyn

    Love the picture! Hope all is well with the family. I’m hanging in there with my sling. I hope the week is a good one. Hugs and love, Carolyn

    • Hi Carolyn, thanks for checking in with us. I so admire the way you hang in there and keep a good attitude! We will keep praying all goes well from here on in. You deserve a long vacation from doctors’ offices! Love to you and Terry.

  5. I am ready for snow, thank you very much. So over summer that I cannot begin to describe. But the painting and staining and now rebuilding the deck is still on this summer’s list. No more trips or fun stuff. Car repair today for starters. May need bigger repair but it must be done. I want to see rain so I can stay indoors, sew and catch up on my blogging buddies. 🙂 It’s gone like a whirlwind for certain but only because it’s just too full!!! I want to enjoy the view. Please make it rain!! 🙂 Oh, never mind. I agree with you. Summers are too short and I love watching and listening to the kids playing outside. I love the sunlight coming in my window and daylight at 5 a.m. It is getting daylight later each day. Wondered if anyone else had noticed. We have more heat this week but a cool down at the end. I love the long daylight hours. I will definitely miss them. Hope you are having a good week. I’ll catchup soon. 🙂 Hugs.

    • You were reading my mind tonight, Marlene, I was just thinking an hour ago, while I was out walking, how I would miss the long daylight hours. Oh, my, do I feel that creeping morning darkness already! I don’t have nearly as much trouble getting up when the sun wakes me, but it’s fading so fast that the alarm clock now wakes me at 6:00 am some mornings, and I feel so much sleepier. Jeff gets up shortly after 5 and told me recently that it was already back to being dark when he got up. I hope you can squeeze in some more summer fun in between all those chores. Have a nice ice cream sandwich or cherry popsicle or some other summer treat. I saw a big crowd of kids with parents out shopping for school supplies yesterday afternoon and it really hit me how quickly it has all flown by. But hopefully you will have some time to get your tasks done AND enjoy a few rainy days too!

      • I need the summer a little bit longer. Still have a large section of fence to stain, and the entire house to paint. Now the deck has to be rebuilt. There is no end and the heat just keeps hanging on. We’ve had some lovely days and I got a lot done then. When it’s really hot, I can’t paint. 😦 I’ll have time for fun next summer. 🙂

        • I wishing you some lovely autumn-cool summer days to get all that stuff done. We had a couple of them this week and it was wonderful. The heat is back now, but not quite as bad as it was before. Sending a virtual breeze your way!

          • Thanks Julia. I can use that breeze here. It’s hot again here too and I can’t paint in this weather. We did go buy the Trex for the deck. Now for the long rebuilding process. TS is not highly skilled in that area and calling for reinforcements. Wishing you some cool too.

            • Well, the breeze seems to be gone from here now, so I hope you got it! Hey you will have to let me know how you like the Trex. I have wondered whether we should use it when we have to re-do our deck. Hopefully we’ll get a few more years out of it, but I can see where a more maintenance-free approach might be just the ticket. Good luck!

              • Thanks for the breeze, Julia. It’s a nice welcome change today. If there had not been rotted and twisted boards, I would just go with replacing them but they are in the open all winter and exposed to the sun all summer. So I’ll give the trex a try. :)) Keep you posted. 🙂

                • Yes, decks are pretty high-maintenance around here too. The humidity is the worst offender; it’s so easy for mildew to set in, even when it’s treated periodically. In CA, Hawaii and Texas, we had a concrete patio (or a lanai, as we called them in Hawaii) and when we first got here, I couldn’t understand why everyone had decks instead. But when there is a lot of moisture and insects and so forth, it’s nice to be up off the ground. Lots harder to take care of, though. I’ll be interested to follow your Trex trek!

                  • We were looking at the basic structure underneath last night and found a rotted board and one full of mold. They are going to be replaced as well. I’m very grateful for that fire. All those problems were lurking under there and I had no clue. Little by little, I’ll get this place in shape. Up off the ground will be so much better. I don’t know why decks are so popular either. Wood just rots with all this moisture. My son is taking pictures along the way. I’ll keep you posted when my mind comes back home. 🙂

                    • This might sound crazy, but when I read what you wrote about the fire uncovering all the lurking problems, I thought of Jeff’s appendicitis and how they found the liver tumors when he went into the ER. If not for the appendectomy, his chances of survival would have gone from “slim” to “none.” Some misfortunes and sorrows turn out to be “severe mercy” as C. S. Lewis once wrote. Moisture and wood are definitely not a good mix. I’ll be looking forward to your photos. Meanwhile I hope your mind has a nice vacation. 🙂 Mine goes missing quite often…

                    • I am learning to accept whatever happens because it always leads to something more wonderful. Who would have guessed an appendicitis would save a life.

                    • I love what you say here. It’s sometimes so hard to look forward in faith, but that’s what we have to do. The old saying about the darkest hour being right before dawn is so often true.

  6. Jack

    In Dallas, my home away from home, it’s 106 this afternoon, the hottest day of the relatively (for Dallas) cool summer. Hot, yes, but oddly, once you know you’ve hit the peak, it’s all downhill from there. Summer ranks 1d on my favorite seasons, but still 1. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve kind of stopped looking forward to what’s next and try instead to enjoy what’s now. After work this afternoon, I’ll put my stuff on, walk my usual 9 miles and relish each and every step, heat and all. No sense in allowing a little heat to stop what I know works to defeat despair, right?

    But give me a cool mid October evening, an Alabama game on ESPN at 630 and I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t get any better than that.

    • Oh NO, 9 miles and 106 degrees in the same paragraph are just too much for me! Even at my most diligent I never walked more than 5 miles, and never in that kind of heat! I hope you take along a frozen bottle of water as I used to do — about two miles into the walk it would be completely melted to icy cold water, a perfect reward for getting halfway through the walk! Seriously, I can’t imagine walking in that sort of heat without dropping from heat exhaustion. That’s one thing I DON’T miss about Texas, which was one of the hardest places to leave ever, except the thought of saying goodbye to that heat was a consolation. But you’re right, its a real mood lifter to take those walks, and I read a scientific (supposedly) explanation as to how heating up and cooling down literally does boost our moods. As long as we survive it. 😀 I like looking forward, as long as it doesn’t keep me from enjoying the now. Anticipation is a lot of fun, but so is just being where we are.

  7. As usual the summer just finds me hanging out with, thankfully, no snow in sight. Free to go where I want, if I want. An old slow played tune reminds me of what you so nicely wrote here; “Summer Time,” …”when the living is easy.”

  8. What a gorgeous photo and setting. It positively brims with “sit and rest a spell.”

    Believe it or not, M goes back to school on Monday, August 17th. Schools out here are starting earlier and earlier. We’ll be back in the routine this time next week. C starts college September 21 so he still has a month to go. We’re going to use some of that time to learn how to use the bus and to shop for school clothes. Even at 18 he’s still getting taller. Summer often feels stretched out here, as it can still be in the eighties and nineties into early October. I wish I was there to take a walk with you, Julia. Thinking of you. xox

    • Hi Alys, WOW school just keeps getting earlier and earlier. Around here the kids don’t start until Labor Day, but they pay for it in late May and early June. I’m so happy you and C will have some time together before he starts college. It sounds as if he got some of your height! You will treasure the memories of this time together and all the excitement. I remember how warm the Octobers were in CA. Our kids would sometimes get quite hot in their Halloween costumes, which was so unlike the chilly nights of trick-or-treating when I was a kid. Ours had their trick-or-treat years in CA and Hawaii, so they don’t have the same memories of crisp autumn nights as Jeff and I do. On the plus side, the flowers and fruits were still available in abundance — not a bad trade off! I wish you were here to walk with me, too, so I’ll take you along this evening, if only in my imagination. ❤

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