Autumn. Winter. Spring. Summer. That's the order of my preferences for the four seasons as we Midwesterners experience them. Summer has always been the season I tolerated. I liked it for its break from school when I was a child, but it was always too hot and then too cold in the air conditioning. I'm the annoying one who packs a cardigan when I leave the house May through August. And the one who wears sweaters regularly the rest of the year.
My budget grounded me for the past few years. I've been antsy to travel, to get the heck out of dodge for awhile, but my practical side wins out. I made the conscious choice to make the most of a staycation this summer. I vacationed in my backyard. It's been surprisingly wonderful.
This summer flipped a switch in me. I learned that working in the shade on even the hottest days allowed me to be both productive and leisurely. I managed to not get dehydrated or get a sunburn. I paced myself and enjoyed a blend of work and rest all in the same afternoon.I have underappreciated summer in the same way that I spent too much time in my head and not enough time in my body. Gardening returned Summer to me. It was nice to get reacquainted with the joys of summer. I love being outdoors now.
I experienced the health benefits that studies say nature provides: I felt less stressed. I breathed easier after time outdoors. I liked the weariness in my bones after an afternoon laboring on my hill ripping out weeds and mashing them down in my yard waste containers. Nature did its work on me, and I am better for it. It was such a lovely surprise.
I love sweater and boot weather, but this year, I wasn't in as much of a hurry to trade out my seasonal closet as I'd been in the past. I was reluctant to pack away my flip flops and tank tops. What a lovely feeling to be nostalgic for something new. And yet, this is the beauty of living in the Midwest. The seasons change with regularity. A good reminder that no season—physical or mental—lasts forever.