There is a lot to be learned from a boy in summer. Nobody seizes this season quite as well as he does.
For him, every day is a celebration of school being out as well as the sun. His backyard becomes a distant unknown territory, with every tree branch offering new and spectacular views. His bare feet run through sprinklers and jump on trampolines.
Safe havens from the summer heat are found in the shade of reaching Live Oak trees or with a quick splash in the pool. He swims until his fingers and toes are all wrinkly, and then he swims some more.
The boys of summer find themselves wishing for the sun to take its time setting, hoping for just a few more hours outside in their wild kingdoms. They’ll ask for five more minutes of play, over and over, until the sky is too dark to see.
Many a night will be spent washing dried mud out of salty hair and scrubbing dirt off of hands and feet after a long day at play. Other nights will be spent searching for lightning bugs beneath the stars.
And in the morning, he will do it all over again.
He has no cell phone or tablet to distract him from exploring. He has no one to impress. He dreams of digging holes to China and argues only about which superhero has the best superpowers. He runs, plays, laughs and makes friends with a simple game of tag.
Those of us who were lucky enough to spend a childhood summer in Richmond Hill might look at these boys with a sense of nostalgia, remembering when our only worry was getting splinters or spurs stuck in our feet. Some of us might even wonder, “Where did those days go?”
Somewhere along the road, summertime begins to change. The sense of freedom and adventure we once felt as children can be lost amid responsibilities and routines.
Life gets busy and we get stressed. We spend so much time focusing on work that we forget the importance of play. We distract ourselves, exhaust ourselves, and live our lives waiting for a chance to escape reality.
When those moments come, we should remember to look to the boys of summer. We should learn once again what it’s like to find opportunity and adventure in our own backyard. We should remember to play and be silly. We should remember to find ourselves in good company, even when we’re alone.
And perhaps most importantly, we should learn to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
There’s something undeniably special about this place we live, work and play. Whether we be on the water, beneath the shade or in the sun, we should aim to see the summertime as the boys of summer do, as nothing short of magical.