Summer has always meant something different to me in different parts of my life. Seems obvious, as our perspectives change, but I only just now thought of it that way. I was thinking of the fun things I want to do this summer, and realized that I couldn’t have done them when I was a child in Seattle, a teenager in Cowiche, or a college kid in Ellensburg. Summer as a newlywed working adult living in Seattle is very different. It means something else.
Summer as a child in Seattle in the 90’s meant splashing in the wading pool at Wallingford Park in my ruffled swimsuit, volunteers in blue shirts giving us free Capri-Suns and 6-packs of Austin peanut butter crackers. Tire swings above sand and wood chips, the rolling (always green) park lawn where we could play tag with children we didn’t know. Riding our bikes with and then without training wheels around the pathways, courtyards, and parking lots of Lincoln High School. Camping with my mom’s family in the mountains, in the big green tent that looked like it could have been a military tent, very simple, very old, and very sturdy.
In Cowiche, from ages 7-18, summer meant tall grass in empty fields, bare feet with callouses from running across a gravel driveway to a cheet grass-infested side yard. Riding bikes in flip-flops and tank tops, no helmets, on the shoulder of roads where the speed limit was 50. Running through the sprinklers, water fights with the hose with the spray attachment. Driving 20 minutes to the mall or the movies with friends from school or church. Basking in the sunshine and enjoying no obligations but household chores.
In college, summer could be one of two things. If I went home, it meant trying to mesh back into the family dynamic. It was board games and Guitar Hero with my brothers, Catchphrase for hours with the whole family, no regard for teams or rules. We got really good at it. Walks around the neighborhood and gardening with my mom. If I stayed at school to take classes, it was fro-yo with friends, aching to be outside when I’m class, aching to be swimming when I’m outside. Trying to stay away from the gnats that get stuck in my hair. Eventually, it turned into pre-planning for my wedding.
But now, I have summer as a grown-up in Kirkland. I had hoped to live in Seattle, but it didn’t work out. Maybe one day. For now, I’m happy with the suburbs. I believe last summer had record highs for Seattle, and this summer should be just as hot and sunny. Contrary to popular belief, Seattle actually has very warm and cloudless summers. I’m looking forward to making time for swing dancing until I sweat through two outfits, listening to buskers perform jazz at Pike Place Market, exploring the different neighborhoods, starting a video blogging channel, and working harder to find a writing or editing job. This summer will be Menchi’s fro-yo, new friends, lamenting grown-up struggles over iced Starbucks. Running through the classics on my shelf while sitting by the water on my days off, hosting guest after guest in our third bedroom, photographing 1890’s architecture down streets I haven’t yet explored. Gardening, just like my mother and her mother. Pulling up every weed, raking every leaf, planting new grass, then sitting down with some iced tea and surveying my progress. This summer is going to be great.
What will your summer look like? Leave a comment!