Summer is the one time of the year when it seems that there is never enough time. Never enough time to accomplish everything. There isn’t enough daylight hours for all of the swimming, walking, running, beach-combing that one person needs in order to feel that they really took advantage of the New England sun. It is because our summers are so short and fleeting that we feel the compulsion to fill up our days until they are overflowing. Summer ends as quickly as it begins. If you blink, you just might miss it and boy would you be missing something extraordinary.

Since I was a child, I have always found myself literally wearing my body out on summer days. This weekend was no different. Dinner plans on Friday night left me frantically dashing to the gym to squeeze in a 3 mile run. I needed to sweat. I needed to get all of this energy out of my body before I ventured out to a delicious dinner. I wanted the freedom to order with abandon that only a good workout gives me. I wanted appetizers and comfort food followed by something deliciously sweet for dessert. I wanted drinks and laughter and absolutely no worries. The run before dinner gave me that childlike freedom.

Saturday morning I woke up to the brilliant sun shining through my window and the amazing comfort of an icy, air-conditioned room. I was ready to hit the ground running, literally. Instead, Mike and I opted for a nice long walk. We decided to walk to a restaurant that is delicately perched on the water’s edge and offers, among many other things, ice cream and lemonade. It was about three miles from my home and gave us enough distance to get in a great workout, get our heart rate elevated and just absorb the world around us. So often we are locked behind screens; computer screens, television screens, Blackberry’s, cell phones, etc. It’s nice to be completely absorbed by nature and the beauty it so readily offers. We sat by the water on a wooden bench, watched a tiny dog chase the tide and drank our lemonades and raspberry lime rickey’s. It was wonderful to fully enjoy the picture-perfect summer day. The cold drinks gave us the energy we needed to get home.

During our walk home, we made big plans for a cookout. Burgers and hot dogs and grilled flatbread pizzas. Salads and drinks and dips. We were ready for an epic cookout. I often think that when planning a gathering I start to focus too much on making it “perfect” instead of just enjoying it for it is, a night of good food, good people, and laughter. Honestly, can you ask for more than that? I sometimes feel that our expectations set us up for disappointment. Living in the moment is a much more rewarding experience. Our cookout turned out perfectly. Yes, the dishes weren’t as elaborate as we had planned. The were no Martha Stewart-esque decorations and the majority of the time was spent inside because the mosquitoes were ferocious. But it was wonderful. I watched my six-year old niece teach all of us how to play Mario Kart on her Nintendo Wii. We told funny stories about our silly family and the unusual predicaments we find ourselves in and we relaxed. It was an excellent weekend and it embodied everything a summer weekend should; sun, good food, exercise, laughter and lemonade.

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