by Meredith Cole
Southerners get a lot of grief from the rest of the country. People make fun of our accents, our culture, the way we cling to history. We have a rep for being lazy and eating a lot of fried foods.
Fine. We have our flaws, but Southerners know how to do summer right. Instead of rushing around trying to accomplish a million things, we slow down. We’re not lazy, we’re just conserving our energy. After a long siesta, we’ll get moving again once the sun goes down. We hang out on porches and patios sipping cool drinks and chatting with the neighbors.
Our most frequent greeting this time of year is “hot enough for you?” It sounds like a dare, but it’s really an acknowledgement of our inability to control the weather. With global warming, the rest of the country has a lot it can learn from the South.
So you might guess that I have a few summer indulgences. You would be right.
- Live life with a different rhythm. I like to vary it up in the summer. Some days I sleep late, and stay up later. Or I get up really early to go running. I like to spend some time in the afternoon lying down reading a book when it’s too hot to do anything else. Or go to the pool in the evening with my family and let everyone just eat pizza and ice cream for dinner.
- Go away for the weekend. We go away at least every other weekend in the summer to the mountains or to the beach. When you’re not in your house, you’re forced to relax and just be. I always end up having lots of new ideas when I go away, and write long involved journal entries. I come back home feeling refreshed and energized.
- Swim. Pool, Ocean, Lake or River--I love them all. I love to swim and I love to be next to or in water in the summertime. I swim indoors in the winter, but it’s not the same as floating on my back and watching the clouds go by.
- Garden. It's important to get outside in the summertime, and I love digging in the dirt and coaxing plants to grow. We spend lots of energy on our garden and eat up the few tomatoes, blueberries, etc., that we get. Each flower that blooms on a plant in my yard feels like a triumph. In the winter I can dream about how it will look, but in the summer I can make it happen.
My fellow Virginians love their seasons. I admit to longing for sweater weather sometime in mid-August, and for shorts and T-Shirt weather in February—but most of the time I just try to enjoy the season I’m in. It’s over 100 degrees, so it’s the perfect day to slow down and enjoy the heat while it lasts. And go swimming, of course.