Except for my July birthday, I’m not fond of summer. Living in the South, summer means at least five months of oppressive heat and humidity.
Last week, I mentioned how my husband and I had to cancel our annual beach vacation. As I dreamt about sitting on the white-sugar sands and wading in the crystal waters of Destin, Florida, I realized I experience summer on a sensory level. With stress as my No. 1 trigger, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of summer bring tranquility that I don’t experience the rest of the year.
My favorite part about summer vacation is staring out the car window while my husband drives. When we pass through small towns, I daydream about the people who live there. I imagine what happened in the abandoned shacks lying in ruin in the middle of nowhere. I look for wildlife in the forests lining the highway and search for alligators and turtles in the waters below the bridges we cross.
Stuck at home, my daily view consists of my neighbors exercising in their garage and dogs sniffing around my front yard. But a few evenings ago, I had a moment of serenity when I went outside shortly after dusk. The first lightning bugs of the season flickered everywhere. I marveled at their lights until they faded into the darkness.
Heading upwind into summer
If summer had a scent, it would be the perfume of the SPF 70 sunscreen I slather on at the pool and the beach. However, I don’t foresee the need for sunblock anytime soon. Instead, I’m anticipating the mouthwatering aroma of lighter fluid, charcoal, and seared meat wafting through the neighborhood and — I hope — from my backyard.
I avoid using the oven and the stove during summer to prevent heating the house. That means my husband takes over more cooking duties by grilling outside. What better way to relax than lounging around in the air conditioning while my husband toils over an open flame?
Summer, the spice of life
Summer has two flavors: salty and sweet. I’m one of those women who don’t perspire — I sweat. I start sweating as soon as I step outside. That’s the disgusting saltiness of summer. The pleasant saltiness of summer is saltwater on my lips after exiting the Gulf of Mexico.
The only sea salt on my tongue this summer will be from eating watermelon the proper Southern way. Nothing tastes like summer more than a sprinkle of salt to enhance the watermelon’s sweetness. If I could, I would enjoy a margarita or two, but I’ll have to cool off with ice-cold sweet tea or lemonade.
Turning it down a notch
The sound I’ll miss most this summer is the rhythmic crashing of waves. I’m not a fan of autonomous sensory meridian response, but the soft crackle that waves make as they recede into the ocean is hypnotic.
This summer, I’ve found solace in the whirring of our ceiling fans. Our bedroom ceiling fan clicks like a heartbeat with each rotation. Early in the morning and late at night, I concentrate on the soft hum to clear my mind.
The big news recently is the return of the 17-year cicadas. I was 10 or 11 the first time I experienced the never-ending chorus of chirping cicadas. It was like thunderous applause as they emerged from underground. In Austin, Texas, cicadas appear almost every summer. With our current lack of normalcy, the cicadas’ arrival is a comforting reminder that life goes on.
While I detest sand in my swimsuit, I love to bury my feet deep into the sand and pull them out to feel the grains trickle between my toes. I also like using one foot to scrub wet sand on top of the other. While I’ll miss those sensations, self-isolating at home has its perks.
Because I’m not driving anywhere, my car won’t be heating up to more than 110 degrees in the summer sun. I won’t have to burn my bare legs on my car seat, worry about branding myself with the seat belt buckle, or playing hot potato with the steering wheel.
If I do go outside into the suffocating heat, nothing will feel better than the warmth of the sun on my bare skin followed by the chill of walking into an air-conditioned house.
How to have a sensational summer
Every summer day is like every other day except increasingly hotter. The only break from the doldrum was our vacation. Settling for a “staycation” means I’ll have to be proactive with self-care. Life’s not a beach, so this summer, I’ll focus on the simple things in life to stimulate my senses.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.
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