‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high. Oh, your daddy’s rich and your momma’s good lookin’, so hush little baby don’t you cry.” This modern folk song written during the Depression era of the mid-1930s by Jerome Kern paints a picture that retains its unabated continuous popularity today.
Summer is not decreed by the calendar alone, nor is it simply a promissory note signed last winter that’s now come due. It suggests that April, May and March have all been rolled into a green world that’s been working toward a near-about 18-hour barefooted day of hustling, with little time left over for savoring its warm star-filled nights and misty dawns and inhaling the sweetness of cool summer morning air.
This mid-year solstice is nature’s warning that the final weeks of June and all of the waiting month of July are filled with the hottest, most humid days of the year, not to mention the swarms of hungry mosquitoes humming. Those easygoing days of swimming holes and fishing must soon yield to the sunburn and sweat that come with upcoming harvest months.
The good news that the passing of the summer solstice brings is to remind us that watermelon are now ripe on the vine, and it’s time for picking and shelling an apron of fresh garden peas and boiling silk-tasseled sweet-corn fresh on the cob, later dripping in melted butter. The summer solstice suggests sweet strawberries fresh from the garden, fattening figs and the evening song of the mockingbird trilling its heart away.
Kern’s romantic song of how summertime living is easy might be a little misleading, but it does remind us to hang on, for we are coming to the time to consider that the tickets for participating in the annual skateboard ride down summer’s slope come without fee.