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!)