The Summer is Fleeting

Every year around this time, I start to get bored of the summer and wish for the return of autumn.  My favorite season.  Longing for the slightly cooler days and crisp evenings, the crunching of leaves beneath my feet, the calming brown and orange hues produced by nature, and of course, the leather jacket and boots that I can finally take out of my closet again.  The tranquility of the summer is still there, but there’s a hint of something more, something hurried.

I’m not sure when I first realized my love for autumn.  There was a time when I would have said that summer was my favorite season, but I don’t think that was ever really true.  There are great things about the summer, but all of those things carry through into autumn.

Interestingly, I’m not in such a hurry to see summer go this year.  Maybe I’ll revert to my old way of thinking after the temperature spikes this weekend, but I think it’s more a state-of-mind than anything else.  This has been a summer of beginning new friendships and ending old ones, of exciting possibilities and a few disappointments, but most importantly, it has been a summer of growing and learning new facets about myself.  And I wouldn’t change any of that.

As the summer draws to a close, it reminds me to take life’s paths a bit more slowly, to not be in such a rush.  That the choices we make constantly have the ability to bring us somewhere we’ve never been, with people we never knew that we’d meet.

While the days are still hot, take that opportunity to visit the beach again.  Take a walk on the sand.  Dip your toes in the surf.  Plunge into the ocean.  Live life in the present, because nothing in this world is a guarantee except this moment, right now.

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Montauk, NY – summer 2015

Summer is Unofficially Here

This past weekend is one that we look forward to all winter – especially with the one we just had, the temperatures hitting record lows, and a blanket of snow that never seemed to leave – the unofficial start to summer, and what a weekend it was.

Though it started off with some showers, most of the weekend was hot (temperatures reached the mid-80s) and, more importantly, full of sun. During the rainy periods I watched movies with a friend, cooked and ran errands, and during the better half of the weekend I was out soaking up the sun, iced latte in hand and doused in spf.

While autumn is my favorite season of the year for many reasons, no matter how much I end up complaining about it, summer is my second, but not for what you may think. Of course, I love the long daylight hours, trips to the beach, and the sun, but the real reason that I love summer is for the sundresses. And yesterday, as I was switching out my sweaters for my summer clothes, I was reminded of that. No matter how hot or humid it is, or what kind of day I’ve having, dunning a light, airy frock always puts a smile on my face. Maybe I’m just a girly girl – I did wear dresses every single day of kindergarten – but sundresses make everything better.

So, while summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, sundress season has begun. I have already added two new ones to my collection and you can bet that there will be more. What is my ideal summer day? Sitting outside in a sundress with a good book and a glass of champagne or prosecco. What’s yours?

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Mary Alice Monroe’s The Summer Girls

No matter where you go in the world, you cannot run away from the people that are close to your heart and the secrets that they keep for you.  In Mary Alice Monroe’s The Summer Girls, we are shown just that with the reunion of three half-sisters Dora, Carson and Harper, at the request of their grandmother, Mamaw, for her eightieth birthday.  All three girls travel to Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina, to their beloved Sea Breeze, in search of a glimpse into the carefree summers of their youth, and rediscover the bonds they once shared with each other.

Dora is a stay-at-home mom, caring for her autistic son, Nate, and facing the start of a divorce from her husband, who claims that she didn’t pay enough attention to him, which was true.  She is obsessed with caring for Nate, who is a smart child, but at the same time isn’t comfortable in group settings and, heartbreaking to Dora, can’t stand to be touched.  Dora lives in South Carolina, under an hour away from Mamaw, and therefore is the only one of the granddaughters that still visits every summer.  She brings Nate to Sullivan’s Island even though the invitation specified that it was a girls’ only weekend, because he husband refused to spend any time with him.  Dora is depressed over the way that her life has turned out and becomes jealous when she sees her son bonding with Carson.

Carson is a photographer living in California who recently lost her job due to the cancelation of the show that she was working on, and is in need of a change of scenery.  Unlike her sisters, Carson grew up a bit differently.  Her mother died in a fire when she was little, which led to her spending a few years with Mamaw at Sea Breeze (the name for Mamaw’s house on Sullivan’s Island) before her father (their father) Parker, came back to claim her and they moved to California.  Carson loves the ocean, and takes out her surfboard whenever she has a chance, until a close encounter with a shark frightens her and she retreats to the bay.  There is a good thing that comes out of the shark though; Carson makes a new friend, a dolphin, whom she names Delphine – which is how she and Nate start to connect a little: the dolphin fascinated him.  Carson starts dating Blake, a marine biologist who works with dolphins, and struggles with the possibility that, like her father, she too may have an addiction to alcohol.

Harper lives in New York with her mother, working at a major trade publisher as her mother’s assistant, describing their work relationship as Andy Sachs and Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada.  Harper’s mother was displeased that she had decided to go to Sullivan’s Island, making it clear that she was only to be gone for one weekend.  After a phone call between the two, Harper decides to quit her job – further angering her mother – and stay for the duration of the summer.

From the beginning, Mamaw seems like she is hiding something, that this visit with her granddaughters is more than what it seems.  She unearths family secrets – mainly of Parker – that had long been buried, which threaten to pull them even further apart than they already had become…but will they be able to resurrect their strong bonds in order to move forward together?

The Summer Girls is a great novel for the end of the summer season, because throughout it, you get a sense that something is fleeting, life as each of these characters knows it is fleeting, and I feel like that sense that something is fleeting is felt around this time of the year.  The carefree days of summer are fading and the winter is on the horizon, moving towards us faster than we would like.  Monroe brings us back to the beginning of the summer season, where the hopes and anticipation still exist, and, as this is the first book in a trilogy that is set to revolve around these characters, it is only the beginning.