Last winter, South Writ Large asked me to include a list of “Ten Things I Can’t Do Without” along with my bio. I love writing things that make me take stock of life and so with summer in full swing, I put together a new list of my ten loves for June, July, and August.
I love this big galoot of melons and during summer I can’t get enough. Luckily, my dad taught me how to pick ‘em (thanks Dad!) and I have superhero powers when it comes to selecting sweet fruit. This New York Times article covers watermelon’s vitamins and lycopene benefits. Couple that with the ingenious salad pairing of watermelon and feta cheese and this green giant has a permanent place in my heart.
2. July 17th—National Ice Cream Day
Life is too short to not indulge, so of course, I love a day that celebrates my go-to indulgence. When it comes to ice cream, a cup, a bowl, or a cone will do. IMHO ice cream is always a good idea.
I believe summer and reading go together like ice cream and hot fudge. I am a big fan of audiobooks and tote one along on summer strolls and car trips. I love them poolside, too, because I can shut my eyes and the story continues.
4. Wildacres Writing Workshop
This is the fourth summer that I’ve attended this workshop in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Seven days that are spent with talented folks who travel from near and far to write, read, dance, and laugh together on this spirit-reviving, magical mountain. The workshop faculty is topnotch and inspiring. Creative energy buzzes in classrooms beside trilling birds and fluttering palm-sized moths. I look forward to this workshop all year and consider this love the highlight of my summer. This place is heaven on earth and these writers are my people.
5. A Great Straw Hat
Go, Dog, Go was a beloved children’s book for my kids and that book’s “Do you like my hat?” is my favorite question. Nothing says summer like a great straw hat. I love accessorizing days in the sun with a wide brim and a big smile.
I run all year long, but summer is my favorite time to lace up my kicks and hit the road. The warm months are when I ramp up my mileage and send my winter, couch potato alter ego packing.
I write every day, too. It’s like breathing, and if I didn’t do it, my head would explode. And even with a great straw hat (see #5) that’s not a great look.
I can’t let the summer pass without a light show. I’ve caught July 4th bands, booms, and hoopla in many places, including the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the National Mall in Washington, DC, and once, while stopped in traffic on the Long Island Expressway in Queens on the way to Manhattan. I’m a big kid at heart (see #2).
Since my family relocated South—a move that made Mets games harder to get to—we’ve spent summers rooting in the stands for our local Triple AAA Durham Bulls. After twenty years, Bulls baseball is synonymous with summer.
10. The Beach
For me, nothing says summer is here more than a trip to the beach. It can be as long as a week, or as short as an hour-long stroll, just so long as my toes sink into the sand at some point during June, July, or August. On a recent, hectic trip to visit my dad in Florida, I carved out time for two soul-satisfying walks, coveted minutes to inhale briny air, listen to waves lap the shore, hunt for seashells, and release my stresses to the outgoing tide. The beach does wonders for my body and mind.
These are my summer loves. What are yours? Feel free to share them in the comments.