Jessie: On the coast of Maine feeling the school year bearing down upon my family in a most unwelcome way.
I am not sure exactly when it happened but a few years after my eldest started school there was a change to the academic calendar that decreed school would begin before Labor Day. I know that some families welcomed the change as it made navigating lives with childcare challenges and clashing personalities far easier. For me it was a discouraging turn of events.
By the time my kids have made up all the inevitable snow days every June it seems as though it is almost the Fourth of July by the time it feels like summer is well and truly underway. With the next year starting in the middle of the last week of August I always feel like the time goes by too fast.
As I consider the few remaining days we have at the seaside this year I have come up with a list of simple summer pleasures we have yet to enjoy this season. In no particular order they are:
- Taking a blanket, a book of matches, a box of sparklers and a gaggle of children to the beach after dark for a squealing, whirling romp across the sand twirling a glittering wand of light in each hand.
- Pulling out the bocce set and heading to the beach at low tide for a spirited game. It is best played with a flexible sense of the rules and creative integration of the myriad of sandcastles, tide pools and seagulls sharing the stretch of shoreline.
- Plucking fistfuls of basil, thyme and my favorite, rosemary, from the pots in the yard and making up batches of herbed salts to preserve the flavors of the growing season. Several years ago I bought a wooden board with a dimple in it and a corresponding demi-lune, two-handled knife to mince up the herbs into a pile of sea salt. There is nothing like the scent and the flavor of the salts to bring back the sense of summer even in the depths of a New England winter.
- Grabbing a kite from the mudroom and heading for the beach, once again at low tide. Even on a day too cool to swim a kite provides great fun at the beach. I never have had good luck with the flat ones but after heeding the advice of a local toy merchant my kids and I have all found success with the box variety. An added bonus is that they fold up into a small drawstring bag and tuck into a pocket or tote for the journey to and fro.
- Spending the entire day given over to the pleasure of reading, especially stretched out on a porch in the path of a sweet and refreshing breeze. Bonus points if the book is a mystery novel by a beloved author that somehow you have missed.
Readers, do you have a few things you’d like to do before the end of the summer arrives? Do you enjoy any of the activities on my list?