A season of innocence, simplicity, and endless possibility, when there is no more life-affirming act than doing nothing at all, we asked our staff and contributors to share their favorite memories of summertime.
Building a backyard fort that consisted of blankets and our jungle gym, and then sitting in the shade with my dog, a good book, and a box of Cap’n Crunch. —Jennifer Haupt
I made an athletic practice of running after the shadows cast by clouds moving in front of the sun in the open field across from our house. Collapsing onto the grass afterward was a sensory treasure trove. —Julie Eakin
Lying on my horse bareback while she munched on our front lawn. —Kim Rosen
Grape Popsicles, catching fireflies in canning jars and then putting wax-paper tops on the cans and poking holes in them. (We let the fireflies go when we went to bed.) —Geri Larkin
Playing badminton with my sister on the concrete driveway until the late dusk made it too dark to see. Crickets chirping, fireflies alight, a chill in the air, and the smell of milkweed plants. —Sandra Salamony
A summer camp in the foothills of the Sierras. All the campers were expected to help with chores. I remember complaining the first week. Then I volunteered to join the “mud crew.” With a group of older boys, we went down to the third or fourth pasture and dug. In the mud. Endless mud, gooey and heavy in our shovels; we moved earth. I really wasn’t sure why we were digging. But I enjoyed the act of shoveling this mud, including occasional mud tosses at each other.
The next summer when I returned to camp, I was astounded to discover what was at the spot of our mud crew shoveling: kids paddling in canoes and flying off a rope swing into the water. The year earlier, I’d figured that my mud crewing had been simply a fun activity without long-term purpose. But I discovered that we’d been the groundbreaking (and mudslinging) team that worked together to build a dam—by hand—and create the new lake. —John Malkin
We vacationed in Northern Michigan. I loved the clear air, clean water, and sunsets over the lake. We all fished for perch, built a big bonfire with driftwood, and fried the fish in the campfire. One of our friends hauled up a load of Illinois sweet corn that we’d roast in the fire. Fish and corn never tasted so good—it didn’t matter that we probably ate an equal amount of sand. We would stay on the beach for hours watching the sun sink into Lake Michigan and counting our blessings, wishing the evening would never end. —Ann Reed