A pair of monarch butterflies playfully flutters around the Korean lilac bushes which are in full bloom. The sweet smell of lilacs permeates the warm air. Every few minutes, the butterflies land on the flowers and feed on the nectar. It is summertime and the living is easy.
After months of living in a white, grey, and black world, colours suddenly explode. The backdrop is green — every imaginable shade and hue of green. Flowers bloom in a kaleidoscope of colours — red, yellow, white, blue, pink, coral, and purple. The world is reborn in Technicolor, making summertime soothing to the eyes.
In this season, new life bursts forth. Birdsong fills the long days from sunrise to sunset. Birds build nests and lay eggs, tiny goslings and ducklings swim upon the neighbourhood lake. Rabbits appear in every yard, munching on the fresh grass. The insect world awakens as well. Butterflies and bees float through the fields coloured by dandelions. The world is joyously alive.
Summertime offers us the simple pleasures of life. There is something meditative in hanging fresh laundry outside to dry in the breeze. Tending a garden — planting, weeding and watering teaches patience. The rewards are worth the time and the effort — a bountiful harvest of fresh vegetables and herbs all season long.
Summer is the season of easy entertainment. Long hot nights on the deck or patio beg to be shared with friends and neighbours, the smell of citronella candles sweetening the night air, as the solar lights flicker in the gardens. This is the season of family barbecues and picnics in the park. Savouring lazy Sunday afternoons is a summertime treat.
Most of all, summertime is freedom — freedom from routines. School is out and most of the scheduled activities are done. Vacation time has finally arrived, a reward for the long hours of work throughout the year. Now is the time to simply be and to simply enjoy this all too brief season. Now is the time to stay up late, to sleep in, to eat ice cream for supper, to savour the sunset, to bike until dark, to swim in a lake, and to walk through a forest. It is time to enjoy the brilliant sunshine and the ferocious thunderstorms.
The monarch butterflies continue to feed on the flowers. They sense that this is a fleeting season and that soon the warmth of the summer sun and the length of the summer days will begin to diminish. Immerse yourself in this season of freedom while it lasts.
Joanne O’Leary is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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