Beginning of Summer


Perhaps I’ve become selective in my recollections. I have nothing but good memories of my childhood summers. The evenings seemed to last forever. My friends and I had boundless energy for games and bike rides and exploring the wooded areas in our neighbourhood.

Rainy days were spent inside, playing board games and making jigsaw puzzles, and, sometimes, a mess. I’m grateful that there were few distractions – no Internet, no video games, no smart phones. How I feel for those in this century who cannot tear themselves from their devices long enough to play outside! I

remember a childhood of having to be called indoors after dark. Now parents have to order a child to play outdoors. Ah! Summer. Summers changed a little as adolescence emerged with the start of summer jobs and as the regular teenage boredom and angst took over. But the special nature of summer never went away.

The famous May 24th long weekend is the unofficial start of summer in Canada. The official astronomical start of summer this year is Friday, June 21 at 11:54 a.m. EDT. At the solstice, the days are the longest and the nights are the shortest. But we know that in our bones.

Summer releases something in us – a new energy, strength, a desire to play.

Summer continues to work its magic – long evenings, chats around a fire, lazy afternoons, re-reading a favourite novel, walking barefoot on the grass or sand, waking up with the sunlight surrounding the tent, and all those things and ways-of-being that appeal to our child-like desires about summer.

The great novelist Henry James said of summer, “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” I am content with those afternoons.

I’m rejoicing that summer is here. That is not because I am into summer activities like boating and swimming. I’m content to sit outside for a few minutes and let my pale body be exposed to the sun and a warm breeze.

I’m grateful that I can wear shorts and a t-shirt. I love looking at green grass and colourful flowers and trees that have leaves moving to a gentle, warm breeze. And, now that I have mobility issues, I’m grateful that I am not going to slip and fall on icy patches.

I enjoy a summer rainfall. I even enjoy a torrential downpour in warm weather. Summer thunderstorms and lightning have an incredible beauty. It’s a treat to walk along a lakeshore and wear slight clothing, as opposed to a heavy down-filled parka. I’m grateful that I don’t have to remove heavy, snow-filled boots when I come to the front door of a friend’s house. Simple things easily impress me!

Summer creates a more relaxed atmosphere. This is a land that must celebrate summer once it finally arrives. It’s finally summer in Canada. How will you spend your summer? As we welcome summer, let’s remember the words of Van Morrison: “Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.”

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 02:25h, 21 June Reply

    Thank you Philip!

  • John Montague
    Posted at 08:10h, 21 June Reply

    Beautiful reflection Philip. Thankyou.
    What I like about summer includes canoeing, going to the cottage,kayaking, and sunbathing. Also I love listening to the birds.We have lots of blue jays that hang around our bird feeder.Last week I saw two rose breasted gross beak finches. Beautiful.

  • Esther Gilbert
    Posted at 08:40h, 21 June Reply

    Lovely to welcome Summer in thus.

  • Shirley McLean, CLC member
    Posted at 17:42h, 21 June Reply

    I love summer also! Beautiful sharing! Enjoy your summer…..God is found so easily in nature.

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