"Do you think there is anywhere in any language, a word billowing enough for the pleasure that fills you, as the sun reaches out, as it warms you as you stand there, empty handed."
- The Sun, by Mary Oliver -
Ah yes, the summer sun. There are many mystical beliefs, rituals and folklore about summer that have been chronicled and passed down throughout history in most cultures. Primarily these beliefs revolve around the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, or as most know it, the first day of summer.
These customs may include ritual baths, singing, dancing, and leaping over bonfires, reciting intentions, making flower crowns, gathering herbs, or arranging an altar to celebrate the sun, for example. But for the majority of people, summer is celebrated the whole season long by engaging in activities or traditions specific to the hot, long days. Today we are sharing enjoyable activities that we at PSB have found to be enriching for this busy and intense season.
"The summer season is about the heart, which expresses the emotions of joy and laughter. At our house, we always remember to have fun while outside...water fights, food fights, enjoying messy snacks outdoors (watermelon), playing in the rain, and lots of swimming in lakes or playing in streams. We also explore the calm and collective side of summer - star gazing, watching pollinators buzz through our garden, late night bonfires, and laying in the sun on a lazy summer day." (Aaron H.)
"Staying connected with nature all year is life to me, and during the warmer months it's especially easy. One of my favorite hobbies is searching for butterfly eggs and caterpillars in my garden, it's such a lovely thing! Going barefoot, as much as possible and when it is safe to do so outside, is another simple and basic way that I maintain this nature connection. I explore and enjoy my garden (and other spaces) while barefoot, and I have found that the calming effects of being with nature are heightened, plus my foot strength and balance have improved. It's really quite natural to leave the shoes behind, and I often encourage others to try it in their own outdoor space. Going barefoot also provides me a moment afterwards to enjoy a cool foot bath and quick home pedicure. My youngest daughter has recently discovered the joy of bare feet, saying, "We've been going to the park everyday and I've been walking in the grass barefoot. It's so connecting and relaxing!" My encouragement to you would be to find a clean outdoor space (no sharp objects/chemicals/animal waste) and to let your feet breathe, free your piggies! You may be surprised how much you love it!" (Kimberly B.)
"The Sun, by Mary Oliver (quoted above) really captures how I feel about summer. I stand barefooted in mountain pose in the garden with my plant friends, the birds are singing. My eyes are closed as the sunlight warms my face. Summer is as if the earth and all the living things rejoice in love. Mid-summer, or summer solstice, is special to me, the longest day of light and abundance." (Molly S.)
Additional summertime activities most of us here enjoy include:
- making sun tea
- hanging bedsheets out to dry
- doing stretches/tai chi/yoga outside
- camping (in your own backyard or at a friend's house counts too)
- watching the sunrises and sunsets
- volunteering in community events or at a local animal shelter or collecting litter
- supporting a local farmer's market or a local grower
- visiting a winery or orchard
- having home cooked meals outdoors or picnicing as a family
- having friends over for yard games
- participating in a summer reading challenge
- disconnecting regularly from electronic devices
Creating and prioritizing your own summertime traditions can help you to stay mindful of the season, keep you connected with our beautiful earth, make lasting memories and bonding moments with loved ones, extend your view of self-care, and remind you, indeed all of us, of what's truly important. We hope these ideas have inspired you to try something new this season. Happy Summer, prairie friends!