Column: Summer comes off the ferry

Jane Reddington

Sounder staff

Tuesday, July 5 2016

It was 27 degrees in the house last night and I felt summer had arrived. July is here and with it comes the hot weather we wait for all year. Riding the ferry I heard passengers ask each other if they had their firewood order in and so begins another cycle of preparing for the winter when we are the furthest from the fire. 

Summer, for my family, is about being in the water. We get our ice creams, our towels and head to our favourite spot. My daughter wades into the tide pools and I lie on the hot rocks drinking in the sunshine. There is something so pure about the heat of these days and the light in the garden that makes me so delighted to live on our island.

It truly is paradise. And the best is yet to come. Two months of beach days, the kids off school, and time to regroup as a family. We’ll have our dinners outside, I’ll water my garden until the last rays of sun pass over our house and I’ll look forward to the return of my roses. 

There are road trips to contemplate, but all of it begins with the last day of school and the realization that my son is on his way to Grade 6 and my daughter to Grade 4. These are special times, perhaps before their friends become more important than our family unit, and at ages nine and eleven, I feel we are in the best time of our life as a family.

This is also the time for trying on swim suits, because swimming at the beach is a must. I know when I’m in the water, all the misgivings about another year without a beach ready body will fall away and I will bask in swimming in the clear pools around the island. 

Summer is also a time when we visit family on the weekends and try to reconnect over barbecues and badminton nets, when the days are so long, we can make the later ferries in the fading light.

For the first time my kids will go away for a week to summer camp, and this will be new for us too. I remember going to Camp Artaban when I was 10 or 11 years old, on Gambier Island, and spending the week swimming in the ocean and getting up one early morning to swim out to Snake Island by myself because it was something to do. 

I made friendships that I thought might last forever, but in truth only lasted a few weeks beyond the camp. But that didn’t matter because we tried archery and sailing and had a tuck shop and sang songs around the campfire. Now that my children will be going off to camp I wonder if they will come home full to the brim with stories and sunshine. 

The thing is to make the most of every afternoon and evening, to open all the doors and windows and bask in the light. Now more than ever it feels like time is slipping through my fingers and I only have memories to make. What will you make of your summer? Will you grow vegetables or sweet peas, will you swim every day in the ocean or just once? These are tough decisions that make the long days even sweeter.