Welcome, Summer!

Summer 2017-Day 01: Welcome, Summer!

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year! Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of the summer season here along the Jersey Shore, but today it’s official. I’m celebrating the Summer Solstice by embracing and appreciating everything SUMMER and all that comes along with it.

The first day of summer, to me, is a bold reminder that anything is possible this season. Summer’s newness is a fresh start…time to begin anything again or for the first time. The only goals I have are to write and to live with appreciation while having fun.

Along my boardwalk walk this morning, I stopped frequently to take in the sights, the sounds, and the smells I encountered as my feet headed north. The aroma of the coffee brewing from the coffee house combined with the sweet smells of the sea air and the cotton candy that was being prepped for the day stopped me in my tracks…so delicious! The beaches were dotted with umbrellas here and there as they weren’t crowded just yet. Most badge checkers and lifeguards were still prepping the beach for the day. A local morning radio show was broadcasting outside of the Aquarium, with a few penguins, snakes, and a tiny alligator along with plenty of Aquarium staff as their on-air guests. I strolled along, stopping here and there to take a photo, and when I reached the Inlet end I was pleasantly surprised to find it empty. I sat in one of the new white, rocking chairs and relaxed there in solitude, rocking for about ten minutes. I took in all of the sights of the Inlet, from the west to the north to the east and observed the calm meeting of the current and the sea, quite rare for the mouth of the Inlet I can assure you. Then it was time to turn around and head back south down the boardwalk. One of the benches near the Inlet was decorated with red, white, and blue bows, and was dedicated in memory of Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard from Woodbridge, NJ, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. I paused for a moment of silence to honor his legacy. I once again took my time as songs from my summer playlist played quietly through my earbuds, but not too loud to hear the occasional hellos and “Good Morning!”s from passerbys. I made sure to reply to each well wisher with a smile and a kind hello. As I took a picture of the palm fronds with the blue sky as a backdrop, a small plane entered the viewfinder at just the right time. I turned around and took a few photographs of the empty ride area and thought about how full of activity it would be in a matter of a few hours with children and adults laughing as they soared into the sky or spun around and around. I am glad I moved at my own pace because it made for a more meaningful experience.

When I returned back home, I took pictures of each day lily that bloomed today and picked a handful of ripe blueberries to add to yesterday’s till. I spent almost two hours at the library researching my family history after receiving a few more emails from my new cousins with more details about my Grandpa C.’s side (stay tuned for that update!). We took two beach runs and I’m now writing this outside on my lounge chair as the goldfinches and the house finches and the sparrows eat while the catbird sings for me. The bees are busy at the clover flowers and there’s a stillness as a few storm clouds are approaching from the west. And with the Severe Thunderstorm Alerts I just received, it’s time to head back inside.

It was a glorious day this Day 01 of Summer 2017, rumbles of thunder and all. Truly glorious.

I hope your day was glorious, too.

Until next time,

Jill

PS: The deluge of rain that’s now wreaking havoc outside? I still find it glorious. 🙂

Day 01 of Summer Lovin’ 2016: Outdoors

File_001Outdoors. The best part of summer. I love spending time outside, whether it is taking a walk on the boardwalk or through my neighborhood, riding my bicycle around, or just sitting and writing. Funny thing that if I am writing, I become easily distracted by the outdoors, and will sit and stare like David Puddy of Seinfeld fame. There’s no reason for me to stare…I’m just “be”ing.

Unfortunately, I’ve been battling a Lupus flare since the fall.  I’m beginning to think that the sun is playing a role, something that I absolutely hate to admit. I’ve had the trademark malar rash across my face almost every day for the last two months and counting. It comes and goes, and is most severe when I wake up in the morning and after any physical activity such as mowing the lawn or walking. Some days it is so severe that my entire face is lobster red, and the rash itself is hot and burning. Then, as mysteriously as it appears, it will just disappear on its own. Most of the time family and friends mistake the rash for sunburn. I wish it was…

I have been using sunscreen and wearing a hat with a large brim when I’m outside to see if that helps alleviate the rash. So far, it hasn’t.

The lesson here?

I will never take the outdoors for granted again.

Today’s photo is from an early morning Boardwalk walk I took earlier this week. So beautiful and so peaceful.

“Sea” Why Summer Is So….

Summer.  I’ve always loved summer and everything that comes along with it.  Living at the Jersey Shore for 44 years and counting, summer has a role all of its own every year.

Summer moves to its own rhythm and is its own entity.

Summer has its own magic.

The mid-afternoon lull of the crickets and the angle of the sun has changed ever so gradually over the past few days, signs that summer is now on the downslide.

I am not going to think about it though.  Instead, I intend to enjoy each and every moment and relish each day.  I am going to bask in summer’s shine, and let its grasp take hold of me.  I am going to just be.

What do I love most about summer?  Let’s see…

nectarines * cherries * flowers * butterflies * gardening * mowing the lawn * bicycle rides * walks * birds * ice pops * the ice cream man * watermelon * baseball * beach runs * corn on the cob * fishing * the boardwalk * rides * games * breakfast * ice cream * summer music & playlists * salt water * seashells * sea glass * sunburn * sunscreen * potato salad * crabbing * fireworks * finding 4 leaf clovers * fireflies * crickets * blueberries * day lillies * writing * sitting at my favorite places and just being * sandy feet * surf shops * the smell of the ocean * shrimp * tomatoes * sunrises * sunsets * swimming * the beach * ocean waves * laughing with family and friends * the warmth * sunshine * the park * seafood * burgers and dogs * pluots * peach pie * caterpillars * sea stars * horseshoe crabs * sitting at the Inlet and watching the boats *

My friend, Cortland Coleman, summed it up best in one of his recent posts:  “Beach days, patio nights, blue skies and salt water. You just can’t beat summer.”

20150803 Photo 2 Beach Cort

No, sir.  You can’t beat summer.

What are some of your summer favorites?  I’d love to hear!  Please share in the comments.

Until next time,

Jill