The only way to make summer last…

by Kari on June 21, 2013


It was the raspberries that helped me understand. 

The raspberries I rescued. This spring, I took on the back-breaking project of tearing out waist-high weeds from our side-yard. And there I unearthed raspberry bushes (raspberries!) and you’d have thought I’d struck gold by the way I happy-danced. I carefully plucked the weeds around them, and Dad and I strung them up, training the canes.

Then we waited.

And almost as if in response, as their own way of saying thank you!, they handed us their treasures in return. Large, plump, dark pinkish-red, firm in your fingers as you pluck them off the hull and plop them into your mouth. None of them have made it inside the house.  (This is new for me.) I’ve never frozen one or turned it into jam. I’ve never eating one sitting down, only standing, savoring, their sweetness bursting and urging you on to search for more. No matter how many times you think you found the last one, you can always find one more, perfectly ripe and hiding behind a leaf. As I stood doing the dinner dishes last night I watched the kids picking their dessert, searching under branches and crawling around for just one more.

Pluck, eat. Pluck, eat. Pluck, eat. None of theirs made it into the house either.

See: I’ve always thought the way to make summer last was by harvesting LOTS and saving it up for winter. If you know me a little bit, you know I am a freeze-er. We aim for 50 lbs. of strawberries, 100 of peaches, 50 of blueberries, and whatever else we can stuff in our back-porch freezer. All winter long our grocery budget rests easy and our immune system smiles as we blend our fruit smoothies every day. And while I’ll continue to do this, the question must be asked:

Freezing Berries 3

Is summer preserved by simply freezing fruit?

Can a season be lengthened by canning up its produce?

Is the the joy of summer a commodity, able to be packaged up and opened later on?

I guess the question is really more like this, How do we get the most out of a day? Out of a season? How do we really make summer last?

And while I will still enjoy sliding dozens of fruit-packed ziplocks into my freezer, I think the real answer is this:

We make summer last by diving deep into every moment. 

By eating raspberries standing up.

By saying, Yes! I’ll run up and down the side-walk one more time, holding the back of your bike while you lean and totter and fall and try again. I’ll run up and down, my thighs burning and I covered  in sweat. And after awhile I won’t even notice because I’m watching your face and it’s light and your eyes are dancing and mouth wide-open laughing, shouting “I’m doing it Mommy! I’m really doing it!” 

By saying, Yes! Let’s plant these seeds and Ooops, you dropped them all on the ground, but that’s ok let’s laugh and pick them up and poke them down deep into soil. And you let the dark dirt under your fingernails and you brush your hands off on your jeans and finish with ice-cold lemonade, and every day you watch for those little green shoots. And you watch her as she watches. You study her face. Her lashes, curls, lips. You go slow enough to memorize the moment–her looking for life and you finding it.


By saying, Yes! I’ll run through the sprinkler with you although I’d rather read my book, because your laugh is liquid, and you screaming, splashing, jumping is better than anything on any page. And how many days do I have to do this? Yes, let’s do it again.

Because I am a hopeless plan-ahead-er, and my brain works only in future-tense, and I’m counting down  the days of strawberry season and trying to plan enough picking days and I want to harvest all I can from those fields …

but more than that I want to harvest all I can from these days

This life. These long days in these short years. (These little years will be gone five minutes from now.)

And so today, on the first day of summer, I adjust my goal from “storing up” to “entering in,” from “saving” to “savoring.”

From reading so many pages to reading just a few faces. 

My summer resolution: I will eat more fruit standing up.

{Happy summer! Let’s make it last … Thanks for reading.}