August 3, 2009

Summertime Classics {Monday Muses, August 3rd}

It’s a little bit hard to believe that we’re already well over a month into summer, less than two more to go until it will be time to wave sayonara to the dry, electric nights and drowsy, blisteringly warm mornings of this season. When shorts fade into ribbed tights, popsicles become overshadowed by straight-from-the-oven pumpkin pies, and the majestic blooms of gardens everywhere are replaced by a kaleidoscopic array of tumbling, crunchy leaves.

While this current season of extremes is still underway, I’ve found myself thinking about the elements that make summer so iconic. Those things that are the July equivalent to snowmen in December or tulips come April, and which speak to nearly everyone on as a collective whole. Simple pleasures, distinct moods, sun-kissed hues, the desire to escape the heat and yet an equal longing for it to linger, its presence like a memory that makes you smile more often than frown.

Every day of summer is a wild inspiration, the long desired relief from winter’s wrath, the fiery affair before level-headed autumn blows into town. So many places, scents, hues, people, and emotions fly into my mind when I think of this season the way it was lived when I was a child. Wisteria and honeysuckle branches tangoing on the back porch, canning peaches in a kitchen that had to have verged on 110 degrees. Countless – and I do mean truly mean countless – hours spent swimming in sparkling lakes, yet somehow never tiring in the least. Whiffs of barbeque smoke rising up into the crisply parched August air, so incredibly enticing in nature that you were tempted to start gnawing on your own shirt. Walks taken with dusty feet at dusk, the breeze from indigo clouds pushing the strands of sun-streaked hair from your face. The notes from certain wonderful, brilliant songs like “Sitting on the dock of the bay” and “I heard it through the grapevine” cascading into our laps as we sat on rickety lawn chairs around the flickering, dying embers of the backyard fire pit.

The older I get, the more I realize how truly dear I hold summer, what it means to me and why these things matter. To honour the summers of both past and present, a host of elements are my Monday Muses this week. Each one is inherent to the season, but in no way cliché; beautiful as a crimson sunset and special as the first time you tried a snow cone.

♥ ♥ ♥

{The three S’s of summer: sun, sand, surf}

{1. The Blonde on the Beam, 2. 40s swimsuit, 3. Aquamaids, Cypress Gardens, posing after a show, 4. 1960's fashion}

{The finest fruits Mother Nature can possibly create –
and the labels they once came packaged with}

{ 1. Cherry ripe, 2. Fresh Strawberries, 3. Vintage Fruit Crate Label 22, 4. When the fox cannot reach the grapes he says they are not ripe.}

{The lure of the open road}

{1. route 66. seligman, az. 2007., 2. Del Ray Beach Columbia (the Trailer) and Cadillac Lunch 1954, 3. Hollywood! 1956, 4. Pismo Beach, California - 1950's - from a postcard.}

{Flavours that embody a season}

{1. Happy Days, 2. Summer Time Cool..., 3. 365_263 / Roasting Marshmallows, 4. pecan craquelin, vanilla bean and flourless chocolate cake ice cream sandwiches.}

{Inexplicably perfect, intensely soothing light}

{1. osoyoos lake, 2. M A R M A L A D E . S U N S E T, 3. A Studebaker sunset, 4. The hottest day of summer so far was drawing to a close....}

{To visit an individual image, please click on the corresponding link below each collage.}

In many respects summer has evolved for me, or perhaps simply adapted as I’ve aged. Gone are the endless barefoot hours spent scorching my soles on radiator-hot sand, in their place are kisses with my love in the shade. Where once two months out of the year scarcely seemed like a heartbeat’s worth of time into which to cram scores of activities, we now find a single weekend spent soaking up the sun all it takes to send a thousand stresses fleeing from our minds.

Yet no matter my age, there are so many extraordinary things about summer that remain truly timeless, each one a gift, a reason to smile, the fuel that will get me through another harrowing Canadian January, a Muse in the truest sense of the word.

What, my dear readers, are your eternal sources of summer inspiration?


  1. only you could lure me into liking summer :-) another wonderful post!! I wish I were a gifted writer like you :-) Enjoy the rest of summer!

    I hope you can/want to join my swap!

  2. hi hun! my summer inspirations are the bright colors of a flower garden, the smell of the ocean, and a little Jimmy Buffet song like "If you like Pina Colada's...." lol! Have to have a refreshing drink to go with a cute vintage summer ensemble!

  3. Wow, beautiful writing! I usually am not all that sad to see summer go for the most part, but now I think I may look at a little differently this year.
    Gorgeous pictures, lovely, lovely post!!!

  4. This is, for sure, one of the best blog posts I've ever read. I saved it immediately and I certainly will come back reading it again and again in the future, during those so oppressive winter hours that will trap me as happens every years... I really love summer as well and, despite everything, it was, is and will be my favorite moment of the year. I've always thought everything is possible if it's summer outside.
    Thank you for this great writings :-)

  5. Dear Jessica!

    You have such a beautifully unique way of describing summer like painting a picture in words. You are a Muse to us bloggers!!

    Hope you're having a lovely Monday,

    xxxLOL LOLA:)

  6. Ok, this might be really lame, but the song 'summertime' by the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) always puts me in a summer mood!

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  7. Your writing actually, it's an inspiration. You make me want to appreciate things more.


  8. The winding down of summer is the country fairs. This week was the first one and they go thru September. I'm actually sad when I hear of the first one. It means summer will be over soon.

  9. If you really want to participate in my swap, sign up! I don't care if you're from Canada...I didn't even think about it when I put US bloggers only...I was thinking of countries far away. Seriously, sign up! It's my swap, my blog, my rules! :-)

  10. Such beautiful pictures, I especially love the fruit and vintage labels. For me, summer goes hand in hand with ice cream cones in the evening outside, the sounds of kids playing in the pool, and pulling my hair into a ponytail!

  11. Gorgeous post Jessica! Many of the things you mentioned remind me of summer.

    A few of my personal summer memories include playing in the lake with my siblings and cousins, playing croquet before bed in barefeet and jammies, building sand castles on the beach, and of course ice cream :)

  12. I can't wait until Summer! Now I wish it were summer even more (although, I'm one of the very few people who doesn't like the beach - I still like the sun, though. In small doses, anyway. Hehe)
    For me summer means staying in the shade and putting on loads of sunscreen to avoid getting a tan, electric fans/air-conditioners, not having to wear a million layers to keep warm, clear blue skies...hopefully no heatwaves, this year, though.
    -Andi x

  13. That was a beautiful read!
    I, like some of the people who have already commented, am not a huge fan of summer... It's really pretty permanent in Southern California, and I long for a really crisp autumn.
    That being said, the smell of chlorine and swim shampoo, the intense hunger for pizza afterwards, cleaning out the tree house, horse-back riding, and even being chased away from lunches by angry wasps sends a wave of nostalgia over me for summers when I was much younger. :)

  14. Your lovely writing of course, sweetheart! Not to mention all the gorgeous photos you've posted here (especially the marshmallows! YUM...) But personally, I think nothing beats the gorgeous smoky taste of barbecued meat for summer inspiration - so it's a good thing I love Quorn burgers as much as I do, since between last summer and this summer I've become vegetarian!
    Sitting in a tent in Cornwall playing board games while it tips it down outside is always an element of my summer, as is bodyboarding in the (freezing!) Cornish sea and having rolling races down the sand dunes.
    You have such a lovely way of describing summer... it makes me think about all the things which make it the lovely season it is!
    Thanks for your comments dear!! I'm so glad to be back on blogspot, after so many weeks :)
    XOXO, Em

  15. I featured this amazing post on my blog :) Take a look see!
    XOXO, Em ♥

  16. Thanks for your comment on my blog....have a great week

  17. what a lovely post! I love the way you write, it makes me fall in love with summer :) the funny things is though it's SO blistring hot here in AZ that by the end of the summer I wish it were winter..but then b the end of winter I wish it were summer..I think I will begin embracing both a little more because then I end up missing them. I really enjoy autumn & spring the most when the weather is at it's best here in AZ :)

  18. Jessica,

    This entry was wonderful! You are an amazingly talented writer and you captured every bit of what Summertime means in my mind! I especially love the picture of the Golden Girl Apples crate label LOL!


  19. Such a beautiful post you've written! There are so many things that I love about the summer; the feeling of walking barefoot on grass, retro beach wear, eating water melon, long nights when it's still light outside, polkadots, feeling the sun on my back, jumping in puddles, seeing people with smiles on their faces, picnics, summer dresses... I could go on forever, there are so much that inspire me about this season!

  20. great blog, great pics, and wonderful writing.


  22. My wonderful dears, I must thank you each for what are, in all seriousness, some of the kindest comments I have ever received for anything in thing in my entire life. You are all so incredibly sweet, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Thank you so much too, for sharing the beautiful things that makes for your permanent summertime muses.

    Truly, deeply, sincerely, thank you each so much for your gorgeous words,
    ♥ Jessica