Column: Summer is right time for playing and mowing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Al Batt, Tale from Exit 22

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the summer solstice is: 1. The point on the celestial sphere where the sun is farthest north of the celestial equator. 2. The moment or date of this annual event: In the Northern Hemisphere, on about June 21, which is thus the day of the year having the longest period of sunlight.

I have no beef with Webster’s Dictionary, but my definition of summer is: Too hot, too wet, too dry, too cold, too buggy, too short.

George Gershwin’s lyrics described summertime as when &8220;the livin’ is easy.&8221; William Shakespeare rhapsodized about how summer’s ripening breath &8220;brings to bloom the bud of love.&8221;

Maybe the &8220;bud of love&8221; is the dandelion?

Summer is the time here in Hartland when the snow has pretty much disappeared. Flowers are blooming. The full moon in June is called the Honey Moon.&160;Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey. June has been a traditional time for weddings. Newlywed couples ingested dishes and beverages featuring honey in the belief that it would encourage love and fertility. The time immediately after the wedding ceremony became known as the honeymoon.

The famed American poet James Russell Lowell wrote the words, &8220;What is so rare as a day in June.&8221; An expression that should be followed by the words, &8220;without a lawn that needs mowing.&8221;

The grass in my yard grows an inch per hour during the summer. My wife can barely finish mowing our yard before the grass is tall enough to mow again.

When I was a boy, summer seemed endless. It was a time to lollygag.&160;I don’t do enough lollygagging anymore.

Today, summer is a time of nighthawks and butterflies to me.&160;The end of summer is the time when I feel I should have accomplished more.

Insects prosper. A good summer’s day is when the mosquitoes aren’t bad.

Bless this house, oh Lord, we cry. Please keep it cool in mid-July. Bless the garden where rabbits dine, while ants and caterpillars march in line. Bless our yard where spiders pass creeping Charlie in the grass. Bless the garage, a home to please centipedes, sow bugs, and fleas.&160;Bless the deer flies, two by two, the gnats and mosquitoes that feed on you. But this is home, and here I’ll stay, so thank you Lord, for insect spray.

Sirius, the Dog Star, draws closer to the earth. If you don’t like heat, you are in Sirius trouble because summers can be hot.&160;Robins use potholders to pull worms out of the ground. Potatoes cook underground. Farmers feed chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs. Trees whistle for the dogs. I make instant sun tea. A seatbelt makes a good branding iron. The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance. I wish for a hot day without excessive humidity. I don’t wish it for yourself. I wish it for my grandchildren. I’ve experienced such a day once before.&160;

Summers are for dining outdoors. We roast marshmallows.&160;The first woman to ever pencil in her eyebrows stood too close to the fire while working on her S’mores. Picnics are a way for families to commune with nature while their mouths are full. Food tastes better when enjoyed in the fresh air. The ants, bees and flies add taste to the food.&160;It’s the barbecue season.&160;Cooking over a charcoal fire gives food a unique taste. Make sure you make enough food for the fire department.

Summer is for vacations. A vacation is a time to fill your car with people you think you love and enjoy traffic jams. You will be able to sweat in the presence of complete strangers. Remember, if you don’t have a tan by this time of the year, always wear a jacket and long pants.

So pour yourself a glass of lemonade, grab a hunk of chilled watermelon and venture

outside.&160;Enjoy these long, lazy days. Catch a local ball game. The pros are fine, but amateur baseball is the way the game should be played.&160;Find your joy in a summer day.

That is, if it’s not raining.

You owe it to yourself to take a good look at a summer sky on a clear night. When you see all the stars shining in the heavens, please realize that there are more stars shining within you than above you.

Get out and enjoy the summer.

If you can’t get outside, sit in that recliner in air conditioned comfort, and watch The Weather Channel.

And complain about the heat.

(Hartland resident Al Batt sweats over the words he choose for his columns, which run every Wednesday and Sunday.)