An Ode To Summer

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

I love summer.

I love flip flops and sprinklers and watermelon and cook-outs. I love s’mores and parks and outdoor concerts and picnics. I love pools and sunglasses and letting the kids stay up late and sleep in “late”. I love festivals and fireworks and flourishing gardens. I love the smell of fresh cut grass and the air before it rains. I love thunderstorms. I love the sounds of the birds singing in the morning and the splashing sounds of children playing in the pool. I love iced coffee and cocktails on the patio. I love a day with no plans. I love eating fresh vegetables and not paying $42 to get some fresh strawberries. I love watching the kids ride their bikes and dig for worms and end each day absolutely filthy. I love substituting a swim in the pool for a bath and saying yes to snow cones and ice cream trucks. I love tossing on t-shirts and shorts and calling ourselves ready. I love the summer sky.

Even when I am not on vacation, summer still feels like a “break” to me. I am sure that is partly to do with the fact that the sun stays up until nearly 10:00 pm in July around these parts, so at the end of the workday I still have half of a play day still ahead. But I think it’s also just a mindset. Summer feels like revival. It feels like a cleansing. And when I arrive at summer, I can literally feel my shoulders come down from their perch at my ears. I can feel my chest expand and my mind rest. I can feel the stress float away like some kind of dandelion seeds. I find it easier to be grateful. Life looks better in a summer state of mind. Even in the midst of all the things I very much do NOT love about summer—swimsuits, humidity, spiders, bees—even still I find myself much more, “That’s cool! Whatever, man,” in the summer than in other times during the year.

And for those of us with school age children or who are in the education industry, summer is also a celebration of the successful completion of fall, winter, and spring—allowing us to reflect back on the year we’ve just left behind and look forward in anticipation to the new year waiting ahead. Summer asks us to stop, and if we listen, if we truly “stop” in whatever way we can, we allow ourselves the time for reflection and recharging that fully prepares us to step into the adventures and opportunities of the coming year.

So whether you are off work for the summer or working 80-hour work weeks; whether you mark the passing of the year with an academic calendar or a Jan-Dec calendar or no calendar at all; whether you delight in sandy beaches or prefer snowy nights by the fireplace; if you can allow yourself to play this summer, to delight in the season, even if in small measure—a stolen lunch at a park or an ice cream cone to accompany the ride home—you just might find the stirrings of a summer state of mind tickling at you like the water lapping onto the beach, urging you to slough off the weight of the stressors and pressures you’re carrying and dive into the adventures ahead.

How can you find the “summer” today?  


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.