Feel The Heat... Making Peace With Summer!

"The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for 
the wide world's joy." -Henry Ward Beecher

I have a confession to make... I do not like Summer.

I used to love it.

Growing up, Summer meant long days in the swimming pool with my sister & cousins & neighborhood friends. It meant a week of summer camp in the wooded mountains around a lake and weekend vacations at the beach. It also won me several weeks of summer school, which was always way more fun than regular school & centered around the arts... my specialty!

But- something happened as I got older. Depression and anxiety set in sometime during my late teens, I got married, moved away from home, had a baby, lived a mostly solitary indoor life, and was chronically broke as a joke.

There was no swimming pool. There was no air conditioning. Friends were few & far between.

Grown up life was not all it was cracked up to be. It was hard, the Summer especially.

I did finally managed to overcome that pesky anxiety & depression, but every year since- when the dog days of Summer would return they brought with them a kind of heavy lethargy that reminded me all to well of what it was like to feel lifeless & without motivation.

I hate that feeling!

Therefore- I have long hated Summer.

But this year... this year will be different.

I still don't have a swimming pool or air conditioning, but, thanks to my practice of honoring the Wheel Of The Year, I am learning to appreciate the precious, fleeting nature of every season.

And so it is that I have dedicated this summer to making friends with the heat!

I know it will not last- this heat that is creeping up on me even as I type here on the floor next to a box fan set on high...

I know that every 100+ degree heat wave will eventually give way to a few breezy days before starting back up again and that fall will eventually return.

I also know that the sun has it's virtues. For one thing, it makes life here on Earth possible. In fact, in some cultures, the sun is worshiped as a god!

"If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life 
would be my god." -Napoleon Bonaparte

This year, I have made a vow to find the beauty in every Summer day. 

I will eat watermelon by the boatload, make copious amounts of my signature green lemonade, buy one of those inflatable kiddie pools for the backyard & escape into a chilly movie theater on the hottest afternoons.

I will go slow. I will take naps. And I will walk barefoot in gratitude...

I had all this in mind as I was setting up my bright & sunny altar for the Summer Solstice last week, but, when it came time to recycle the dried bits of nature left over from Spring, I couldn't bear to dismantle the lovely bird's nests I'd been displaying there. I couldn't undo all that beautiful, hard work those mamma birds invested in building homes for their precious families...

So- I wrapped them in orange tissue paper, placed them in a box with a lid, and left them on my neighbor's porch with a note for the little girl who lives there, the little girl who endlessly sings at the top of her lungs and has made a buddy of our fattest cat, Stanley.

I told her how Tanner & I found the abandoned nests on a walk one day and that, now that we've gotten to enjoy them for a while, we thought she might like a turn with them too...

Another thing I did for the Summer Solstice was to make Pina Colada smoothies with my kid.

Someone (who shall remain nameless) took my kid to Taco Bell a few weeks ago & bought him a Pina Colada flavored icy.

We don't do Taco Bell, not usually, and we definitely do NOT do sugary drinks.

So- of course, I had to take a sip, and I ain't gonna lie...

It. Was. Amazing. LOL. This is how these fast food corporations lure us in... SUGAR!!!!

That teensy sip of sugar slush packed one heckuva punch. It was a tongue-tingly explosion of sweetness, and I knew that I might lose Tanner to the dark side if I didn't come up with a healthy alternative & stat.

So- I told him that I would make him a real Pina Colada, and that he could help me do it.

Thankfully, he was thrilled by the prospect, and we made ourselves a date. 

Making homemade Pina Colada smoothies is the simplest thing in the world.

It takes all of two, count em (One! Two!), ingredients: one young thai coconut and half a pineapple. That's it. Just scoop out the coconut meat & blend it up with the coconut's juice & chopped pineapple. Sooo delicious...

And- I am pleased to report that this recipe is 100% Tanner Approved. CHEERS! -xo

"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." 
-Charlotte Whitton