The other day, I was coming off the beach after a nice long walk. There was a woman standing on the boardwalk with two small children and a bevy of beach paraphernalia; beach chairs, toys, towels, boogie boards, and a large umbrella. As I passed by, I noticed that she was crying.
My first instinct was to walk by, but then I thought I should stop and just check on her.
"Are you okay," I asked.
She sniffed and blotted her eyes with the back of her hand.
"Oh, I'm fine, thank you," she replied, "I am just so sad that summer is over."
I can honestly say that I have never mourned a season, and I've never seen anyone actually cry over the passing of a season, but I know plenty of people who have felt the sting of the end of the end of their favorite time of year, and summer seems to be the season that produces the most sadness when it leaves us.
I never see anyone cry over winter. I never hear anyone say how much they will miss shoveling snow, cleaning off their car, or slip sliding down the sidewalk on their way to work. I rarely see anyone mourn the loss of spring. It's rare to hear someone lament over the loss of seasonal allergies and frequent rainstorms. Yet lots of people become distraught over the end of summer days.
When I started to think about the end of summer, strolling on the beach, and riding the ocean waves, I will admit that I felt a bit sad myself that I'd be trading my flip flops and swimsuits for hoodies and sweatpants. Living at the beach makes it easier to hold onto fond summer memories (probably easier than it is for those city dwellers), so I started to think about how those folks who live far from the ocean shore could hold onto the beauty of the summer season.
If you find yourself mourning the loss of summer. You might:
1. Fill a jar with sand and a few shells from the beach. Keep it in a place where you can see it often; your desk or in your car. Or keep it on the kitchen counter where everyone in the family can see it and enjoy it and reminisce about their summer vacation.
2. On the coldest, snowiest, dreariest day of the year, grab a bottle of sunscreen, pop the top and take a deep breath in. Close your eyes and let the smell of the sunscreen transport you back to sandy beaches and ocean waves.
3. Download an app that mimics the sound of the ocean. There are plenty of apps that you can download for free. Listen to it during your cold commute in the car or on public transportation, or listen when you are feeling particularly stressed out.
4. Go through your vacation photos and pick out some of your very favorites. Surround yourself with those photos to bring back happy memories from your summer vacation.
5. Have kids? Turn a snow day into an instant vacation day! Lay a blanket out on the floor, turn up the heat, and put on your swimsuits. Serve fruity beverages with little umbrellas and play fun music that reminds you of your summer trips. Spend time reminiscing with your kids about your vacation and ask them to tell you some of their favorite memories. Have the kids draw and color pictures of the sun, palm trees, or the water, and use them to decorate your space.
While it's fun to keep summer in your heart, don't forget to enjoy the current season you're in as well. Even if fall isn't your favorite time of year, try to appreciate the vibrant colors of the leaves on the trees, the crisp air, and the smell of fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Even if cold winter weather leaves you feeling cranky, try to enjoy the beauty of a new snowfall, take the kids out and make a snowman, or curl up on a really cold day with a good book and a cup of cocoa.
If you're still mourning summer, don't despair, instead, take comfort in knowing that summer, like all the seasons, will return in due time. Keep that thought while you're keeping summer in your heart.