Summer Nostalgia

Beach Holiday by Simon Howden

Dori Clark
Oregon writer
Roses and Thorns Blog

With a couple hours of good light left, I decided to do some weeding after dinner. I had barely finished the front flower border when I noticed the bright blue sky had turned to a dusky pink. I glanced up from the growing pile of chickweed and clover to confirm my suspicions: the glorious golden globe had dipped below the western tree line.

The older I get, the more I appreciate summer. Now it may have something to do with Oregon’s gray, drippy winter months which seem to affect me more than they did when I first moved here forty-five years ago. Much of the time, we have just tasted the sweetness of sunshine when the summer solstice arrives and I lament to my husband, “How depressing. This is the longest day of the year and the days will get shorter from now on.”

Summer evokes nostalgia. It brings memories of my grandparents’ home in Atlantic City, days at the beach and evening strolls on the boardwalk. I think of golden, steamy afternoons spent with my best friend washing, starching and ironing doll clothes. My sisters and I slurped lemon water-ice that dripped sticky streams down our arms. On stifling humid nights, I sat on the steps at midnight with Mom, gazing at the strip of stars we could see from our row-house. I remember sweet morning breezes drifting through my bedroom window, waking me to the echoing chirps of sparrows singing in the only tree for five blocks.

Now summer escorts a flower garden fragrant with purple petunias and heirloom roses; a bountiful vegetable patch producing enough fresh zucchini for the neighborhood; juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes and salad greens minutes from garden to table; warm ocean breezes and grandchildren skipping in foamy surf or digging in the sand. Summer is the time for family reunions and picnics, hugs, laughter, the comfort and ease of close relationships. Satisfaction. Love.

Our women’s group at church is reading a book titled Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan. (I highly recommend it). The author talks about seasons of our life, not necessarily correlating to our age, but seasons such as winter’s difficult trek, spring’s hope, summer’s fruitfulness, fall’s reaping of work well done.

Here is what Buchanan says about summer’s nostalgia:

I think our hearts’ summertimes get both sweeter and more melancholy

with the passing years (much as our earthly summers do). . .

The idea is that nostalgia is expectancy in reverse. It’s our instinct for heaven

rummaging in the storage closet, hoping that our heart’s true desire is in there

somewhere, hidden among a clutter of keepsakes and accumulated debris. . . .

Earth’s beauty ̶ its summertime vivacity ̶ is a gift that can become a burden.

If we don’t fathom that summer’s beauty is a rumor of heaven, we’ll make a

fetish of the rumor and miss what it’s pointing to.

This was an encouragement to me to set my sights, not on the western horizon looking for a longer stretch of daylight, but on that Eternal Summer in the Eternal City where the Lord is its Light* and all the love, life, relationships and beauty of summer never fades into nostalgia.
*Revelation 22

image courtesy of “Beach Holiday” by Simon Howden

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