Falling in Love with Summer

June 19th, 2016

Every year at about this time, I fall in love. I find myself smiling for no particular reason and walking with a spring in my step. I can’t help myself. The early days of summer are some of the best of the year and the warm weather brings out all the things I love about small town life.

Four and a half years ago, my husband and I made a very intentional decision to leave Pittsburgh and move to Burgin. We had been living in the city for eight years, and while I loved some things about urban life – excellent dining options and close proximity to the zoo being high on the list – we both agreed that we didn’t want to raise our family in a big(ish) city. It felt needlessly harried and congested and I spent too much time stuck in my car trying to get from Point A to Point B.

So we packed our belongings, two kids, and a dog and headed south. We arrived in Kentucky in mid-May of 2012 and that first summer remains fresh in my mind as one of the happiest of my life.

I was completely enchanted with everything about our new home. We’d take long walks after dinner, visiting cows in nearby fields, throwing sticks into the pond, and stopping for chocolate milkshakes at the tiny convenience store down the street. We’d sit on the front porch, waving madly to complete strangers who drove by. In the absence of curbside recycling, I would cheerfully load the kids into a Radio Flyer wagon, pile all our bottles and milk jugs on their laps, and pull them the two blocks to the recycling collection site.

Each year, my enthusiasm for this place we call home is renewed afresh with the lengthening days of summer. Now I spend more time in Danville than Burgin and I know more people, so the simple pleasures of small town life are compounded by the relationships I’ve forged over the past four years. An evening ice cream stop is almost certain to mean bumping into friends on a similar mission. A trip to the library evolves into a playdate at the park. A visit to the farmer’s market lasts an hour because why leave when there are so many people to chat with?

I love the long evenings and the sight of fireflies in the backyard at dusk. I love the smell of sunscreen on my kids’ skin and how tan their young bodies become, seemingly overnight. I love that they come home from camp utterly filthy, covered in a patina of chlorine, dirt, and melted sno-cone. We call it “summer baby grunge” and it fills me with such joy that I sometimes hate to give them a bath.

Then there are the summer festivals and fairs and cookouts – all of those wonderful gatherings that combine food and music and fellowship. Whether we’re watching a parade down Main Street or hosting an impromptu slip-n-slide party in the front yard, every day feels like an opportunity for beautiful photographs and laughter-filled memories.

I’m a strong believer that the glass is always at least half-full. These days it’s full of lemonade. Stop by some evening and I’ll pour you a glass. It’s summer, my friends. Enjoy!

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