September 19, 2021

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Imaginary Summer – The New York Times

Welcome. It’s hard to believe another month is drawing to a close, with summer creeping into its back half again. Summer is always full of a certain amount of expectations, of the weight of one’s own clichés: now is the time to do without worries, when you go out for a good time, maybe you take a vacation. Summer of Imagination is a series of sun, sand and sky bleached snapshots, more Instagram than Instagram itself.

So what about this summer? A few months ago, the forecasters trumpeted the arrival of “Hot summer vax”, a free-for-all without a mask that did not take into account the Delta variant, heated domes, flooded subways or tornadoes of fire. “It is summer that feels like the end of summer as we have known it,” writes Shawn Hubler in his assessment of the effects of climate change on our collective ideal of sun and fun.

Maybe we are learning to manage our expectations. A triumphant and definitive victory for Covid may not be the theme this summer, but there are still reasons for joy, hope and gratitude in everyday life. I am encouraged by the readers’ stories of how they are leading a full and cultivated life this summer. Here is a note I received from Bette Sullivan in Sumner, Washington:

The old lady in a Mariners scarf tied to her sun hat, a Mariners T-shirt and Mariners compass earrings walking with two sticks as she tenderly clings to her Mariners beach bag? It was me, sitting in the grandstand in the field to the left, where tickets were only $ 10. Included in this low price was a chance to see the fantastic Shohei Ohtani getting hit by our bullpen.

I can’t describe how exhilarating it was to be with the crowd again. Two years is a long time in baseball years, and when the announcer said “Your Seattle Mariners” as the starting lineup rushed off the bench onto the pitch, I had tears in my eyes, just like when I haven’t seen one of my children since. a bit’.

He took his son Andy to the soccer game; I bought the tickets, he bought the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

Boom, boom, APPLY!

There are some things that will always remind me of summer, no matter where I am, the weather, the variants or the vaccines. I recently started making a list of those summer things, a whimsical list of books I’ve read over the last few summers, music that makes me feel like it’s summer in any season, ideas, recipes and activities that populate my summer imagination. Here are just a few:

  • Last summer I listened to audiobooks of the novels “Beautiful Animals” and “The Forgiven”, both by British author Lawrence Osborne, both about wealthy people on vacation in sunny places, and how those holidays go terribly wrong.

  • Yotam Ottolenghi smoked corn ceviche and avocado.

  • Instant Relaxation: Listening to Khruangbin and Leon Bridges’ “Texas Sun” or Haim’s “Summer Girl”.

  • “Oh, take what we love inside, / carry an orchard inside us, eat / not just the skin, but the shadow,” writes poet Li-Young Lee in his Perfect Summer Poem, “Flowers.

  • The 1988 film “Mystic Pizza”, starring Julia Roberts, is one of my favorite summer films. (Its spread if you want to see how it holds up.)

What’s on your “instant status” list? What books, recipes, poems, ways to pass the time, whatever the weather or where you are, will forever evoke summer for you? Tell us: [email protected] Please include your full name and location and we may feature your story in a future newsletter. They were at home and out. We will read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a full and cultured life, whether you are at home or away, appear below.

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