22 Ways to Squeeze Every Last Drop Out of Summer Before It Ends

There’s always a weekend when it hits me. It’s usually mid-August. It’s usually hot.  And the cicadas are singing like there’s no tomorrow. I wake up and realize, “Ohmigod! Summer’s almost over!”

If you’re at all like me – you still want to live summer to the fullest!  Here are 22 ideas for how to be more present to this amazing time of the year when summer turns its volume up right before disappearing into cool thin air.

1 – Wake Up Early

The days are still lighter longer, so it’s the perfect chance to wake up and be present to the sunrise. Take a walk in the early hours while it’s still cool outside. Don’t forget to bring your dog!

2 – Create the Ultimate Summer Song Playlist

Visit iTunes and download 20 of your favorite summer happy songs, and take a sunset drive with the windows down.  Sing loud!

3 – Get a Last-Minute Beach Deal

If you don’t have kids who are heading back to school, it’s a great time to find deals at the beach!  Plus, it’s a quiet and peaceful time to be on the shore.

4 – Listen Up

Depending on where you live, the end of the summer is a feast of healing sounds for your ears. Cicadas, tree frogs, wood thrush and songbirds – to name a few. Take some time to sit still and listen. Pure attention is creativity at its finest.

5 – Visit your Local Tailgate Market

I often wish I still had my organic garden. I loved growing my own vegetables. But the truth is, I don’t have the time (or sunlight!) to create a thriving garden. Which is why I’m so happy to visit the local tailgate market this time of year. This is when harvest is at its most decadent. Stretch yourself and purchase a few new veggies you’ve never eaten before!

6 – Catch an Outdoor Concert

Some of my very best concert memories are from the many concerts I’ve seen while sitting on a blanket in the grass. From Latin to Lillith, from ballet to Buffett – outdoor performances are a renewal for your soul.

7 – Fire Up the Pit

If the nights are getting cooler in your area, it’s a great time to light up a fire and have friends over for some intimate conversation by the outdoor fire pit or chiminea.

8 – Call in Lazy

Okay, I’ll go ahead and admit it. When I had a “real” job, I called in lazy a few times. (Of course, I never actually used those words!)  My friend Diane and I would sometimes call in lazy together and use those days to drive to the Chesapeake Bay for a quick getaway from our city lives.  Take off for a day of total summer immersion.  Don’t wait til you’re sick to pamper yourself!

9 – Outside More than Inside

Sometimes I present myself with the following weekend challenge: Be outside more hours than inside. (In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting by the falls on the river.)  Nature revives us. Our bodies get in tune and in touch when we surround ourselves with the natural rhythms of the earth.  Challenge yourself to see how much time you can spend outside!

10 – Catch a Great Summer Movie

Talk to me all you want about Netflix – but there’s something special about going to a theater and seeing a movie on the big screen. There’s always a few good summer movies in each genre – so don’t wait for the DVD!  Experience a fun evening out!

11 – Watch the sun set

One of my mantras is this: “Above all – reverence.” One of my favorite ways to experience the awe and wonder of life is to sit quietly and watch a sunset. It’s free. It’s easy. And there’s always lots of great spots in any city or region to make an occasion out of it.

12 – Slice a tomato.

The end of summer is tomato time! My favorites are the big purple red heirloom tomatoes – not just because they taste so good, but because they are so completely beautiful when you slice into them. Each one is a work of art. Slice a tomato, cover it with fresh dill, and a little bit of salt.  Enjoy!

13 – Get Naked. Go Swimming.

Oceans, swimming holes, lakes, rivers – yes, they’re all a whole lot more fun when you’re naked!  I’ll leave the details up to you!

14 – Go ahead. Get trashy.

There’s nothing better than indulging in that slightly embarrassing book you’ve been meaning to read. Don’t worry about hiding the cover behind a National Geographic magazine. Just enjoy it!

15 – Shed the Excess

The heat of summer is a great excuse to get rid of the excess. If you’re weighed down by lots of clutter and stuff you don’t use, toss open your windows, crank up the music and de-clutter. You’ll feel so much lighter when fall arrives.

16 – Dig in the Dirt

If you have a garden, it’s a great time to divide your plants, add some compost, mulch it up, and gather seeds. In my shade garden, it’s time to divide the hostas!  Just plunging your hands into the earth will awaken your heart to what’s real!

17 – Go for Gazpacho!

If you haven’t done it yet, this is the best time to make gazpacho soup. It’s healthy, and it uses all the ingredients readily available in abundance right now.

18 – Take an After-Dinner Walk

Before you know it, it’ll be dark outside as you make your dinner.  Take advantage of these last days of late sun – and take a simple quiet walk after dinner.

19 – Swing on a swing.

Swinging is the happiest activity in the world. All you have to do is keep your eyes on the lookout for a great swing – in a park, on a tree by the river, at a local farm. Don’t roll your eyes! Get out there and swing. Your mood will thank you!

20 – Adopt a pet.

It’s the time of year when the spring babies are ready for adoption. What better way to prepare yourself for winter than to bring a furry bundle of love to your home?

21 – Take a shade gardening workshop

One of my favorite blogs is A Way to Garden. Margaret Roach is the coolest smartest kick-assingest woo-woo garden blogger out there. She and Bob Hyland are offering a day-long shade gardening workshop – which I would totally sign up for if I weren’t so far away. (Note: This will sell out very quickly. Take advantage of the low price!)

22 – Make Pesto

Basil is, quite simply, the best thing EVER. Or maybe pesto is. I can never really decide. Anyway, pesto is heaven. You can find many great recipes on the web. Or, do like I do, and use your intuition. Either way, pesto will keep you happy through the winter – and it makes a great gift for your friends and neighbors! (And by the way, you can make an awesome vegan pesto too. The cheese is totally optional!)

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Comments

  1. says

    I was just telling my husband last night that, “Oh my God, summer’s almost over,” which has me rushing around getting the last of the summer’s produce and finally spending time at the beach. Thanks to this list, I have a few more things that I can “squeeze” in, so a big ole’ thank you Christine. By the way, need to find a really trashy novel. Any suggestions?

  2. says

    What a compliment. To be called kick-assingest at my advanced stage is truly wonderful.

    I wish you could be here, too.

    I bet you will like my new (not really gardening) book — coming in February, about my personal return to creativity…and there is even a vision board of sorts involved in the plot. More on that soon…and thank you again.

  3. says

    A resounding yes to all of this (I love the warm seasons so much…it hurts a little to see it start to wane) but especially the early-wakeups.

    I’ve recently resolved to start waking up at 5am. I already wake up early to work out in the mornings — outside, where it is LOVELY these days — but realized that if I wake up a bit earlier I don’t have to rush quite so much and can enjoy the Summer mornings while I still have them.

    A couple days ago, before a morning run, I stood on our balcony and watched the sunrise (not just a brief appreciative glance for once) and felt so in awe and happy. And then I knew for sure that early mornings are 100% worth it.

  4. says

    You must be rubbing off on me…I actually did 8 of the things on this list THIS WEEK! And I see a couple I can do this week (gazpacho and pesto…yum)…thanks for the reminder about the pleasures of the last bit of summer.

  5. says

    Thanks y’all! Margaret – you are a model of courage to all of us – (at your “advanced stage?” No chance of acknowledging that little remark!)

    Anna – After I wrote this – i went off and did a bunch of these as well! (And oh, I already adopted the pet – so that was just a way to check something off my to-do list after the fact!)

    Laura – YES!!! PEACHES!!!!

  6. says

    I absolutely love this article! Last week, my daughter and I put together a list of things we want to do before summer is over, and we have been checking off the list and having a great time! Sumer is my favorite time of the year, and this is a great reminder to enjoy it all.
    Thanks Christine, you gave me some more ideas to put on my list!

  7. says

    In a few days I’ll be spending a week doing the sunrise, sunset, spend more time out than in – all at the beach. There will be swimming and tomatoes too. That week is gonna squeeze so hard!

  8. says

    Love this list!! Going to file it away for future reference…down here in NZ we’re squeezing the last bucketuls of rain out of our wintery skies – and looking forward to Spring and some warmer weather!
    Enjoy your Summer!
    xx

  9. says

    So many yummy things and how blessed I am that for me it is the last weeks of winter and here I am sitting looking outside at a blue sky, sun shining, barefoot, watched the sunrise today, walked on the beach. Love pesto, tomoatoes and what about summer strawberries.

    I like get trashy- time to get a novel to read. Loved you comment on the Q & A this week about the trashy book :)

  10. says

    Great post!! Tomatoes! Yum!! I too scarf down as many heirlooms as I can. Last year the rains made for a terrible yield but this year we have a huge bounty of them much to my delight! My herbs have grown like wildfire this year and that wonderful garden full of lavender, green and purple basil, english and lemon thyme, purple and russian sage, garlic chives, parsley and rosemary delights me! I am going to make gaspacho this year too – I haven’t yet done that but have been so enjoying it out at restaurants. Having it sitting on my own deck will be even more heavenly.

  11. Kory says

    Hey Christine!
    SUCH a big fan of yours – your music really moves me. I’m actually a vocalist/piano player, and I have always wanted to sing and play your songs..I find that being able to actually sing and play through songs makes them so much more meaningful and emotional for me. Do you have sheet music for your songs available? Specifically ‘Right Outta Nowhere’?
    Thanks so much,
    Kory

  12. says

    Thanks everyone! Wayfaring Wanderer – TUBING! I love tubing! Maybe I’ll see you out on the river!

    Kory – the only thing I have is a DVD called “Backstage Guitar Lesson.” In that DVD, I talk about how I write songs using the guitar, open tunings – and I teach you how to play several of my songs on guitar. Right OUtta Nowhere is one of those songs. (But I don’t show you how to play it on piano! :-) )

  13. Marylène says

    Hi! I just thought it would be fun if you added a « Serendipity Button » to your blog. Sometimes I visit your site and browse through the archives in search of something new or unexpected that could inspire me. It would be nice to have a function that randomly selects one of your posts or the lyrics of one of your songs!

    Thanks for the help and inspiration that you have already provided!

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