When I first heard the title of Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, I conjured up images of fairies drifting in circuitous flights while competing with fireflies and outwitting venomous bats. There are a lot of bats in Wisconsin where I grew up. I imagined the night both hot and sticky but there would still be a bonfire where families would gather and dance.
It took place in the middle of summer, of course.
In Colorado, the magic of summer surrounds us too. The lush landscape fills with wildflowers. Even the foothills turn emerald green. Whenever I’m outdoors, I awaken my senses to drink up every moment by inhaling the fresh sweet scent while listening to the symphony of birds. Babies are born all around our property. I dream of them at night. Super weird, I know!
But, looming around every corner of my garden is the notion that my favorite perennials only last a few weeks. Some, like peonies, fade after one. I take photographs to capture their short blooming season. I want summer to last.
But I have always wondered, when is the middle of summer?
Unfortunately, I have heard several people say, “Can you believe it’s the Fourth of July? Half the summer is gone already. Can you believe how fast it goes?” Blah, blah, blah… Disheartening words for someone so attached to the season of long days.
I applied logic to these outrageous statements to see if there was any truth in them. Don’t laugh. I do use logic once in a while. How can the July 4th be the middle of summer?
1. If these summer skeptics are defining summer by Memorial Day and Labor Day, it puts the midpoint somewhere in the third week in July.
2. If they use the equinox, then summer is in it’s youth at Independence Day, only a mere three weeks into its three month lifetime ending on September 23rd.
3. But if those too early naysayers use school semesters to delineate the midpoint marker of summer, then it would vary. If the school year ended the first week in May and starts again in mid-August, then the Fourth could be the midpoint. Sorry.
Californians have year-round summer, enjoying mild temperatures throughout the year. But the strangest thing happens in June. Clouds roll in. Temperatures plummet. Some of its residents will don winter coats, no lie. Temps may only reach a frigid sixty degree high. Belly laughing aside, with humidity, it does feel colder. They even have a name for this cool drab month:
Yes, we made the mistake of going to LA twice during the month of June. The first time, we rented an Airbnb in Malibu. Hanging out on the beach required layers of clothing over my swimsuit to keep warm against the chill. The cold ocean didn’t beckon like it did in July the year before.
Later, while I perused a small retail store, two ladies who worked at the shop sipped wine while waiting for me to leave so they could close for the evening. They grumbled about the retched gray month and looked forward to the beginning of July.
“Three more days until summer!” she said to her friend. They raised their glasses in a toast.
Whoa. Her words blew my mind. Summer starts in July?
That is very true for Colorado this year.
Last August marked the last day of seventy degree temperatures in Colorado. We didn’t reach seventy again until late April. Then we had the coldest May on record followed by a cold nasty June. We had to cancel our backpacking trip on June 22nd because it snowed! It was the coldest spring.
My roses are two months behind. The first flush usually arrives in the first week in May, but they woke up the first week of July! Everything is blooming at once as our summer season has compacted. It’s gorgeous but I feel cheated. Summer has started in other places in the country without us.
We hit ninety degrees the last week of June. That was the latest recording of the 90’s since the 1920’s. It finally felt like summer.
As someone from the Midwest, who now lives in the Southwest, I define summer as three months of warm temperatures to be spent outdoors. Last week felt like the first week of summer!
So, I am officially pushing the midpoint of summer to mid-August.
I’m dreaming of warm nights under the stars where I drink in the magic of the season. We don’t have fireflies, but moonlit fairies still
dance dodge bats. Bonfires will be plentiful. Families with gather and tell scary tales and laugh. I plan to enjoy this summer all the way through September.
We can’t possibly have an early winter like last year, can we? That would be a nightmare.
Is summer in full bloom where you live? Are you ready for winter or do you wish you lived in a different part of the world?
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