Michelle Helliwell

Find your escape. Find your Happily Ever After...

Strawberries and Summer Afternoons

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
— Henry James

Summer was late arriving to Nova Scotia. I think it more or less arrived with July, and given the winter we just had, I'm not about to complain about it. It's been a glorious couple of weeks so far. It's light in the mornings, when I'm usually up writing, so I tend to be sitting outside on the deck. Between 5:30 and 7:00 am you'll generally find me on my deck in my pj's with my dog, my cats, a cup of coffee, and the 2nd draft of NO PRINCE CHARMING. The combination of fresh air and birdsong is enough to get me in the writing mood. My books tend to have alot of scenes set out-of-doors because I prefer to be outdoors, unless it's too hot or cold. 

                                              Four quarts of luscious strawberries.

                                              Four quarts of luscious strawberries.

The local strawberry harvest this year has been an excellent one. The berries are huge, sweet and run-down-the-side-of-your-hand juicy. For me, strawberries (and rhubarb) mark the beginning of the local fresh eating season. I make it a personal goal to eat as many strawberries as I can before the season is over. 

Summer afternoons are a thing to be savoured. Last weekend I was lying down on a swing in my yard, reading. For about two minutes I was sort of restless, thinking about other things I should be doing (like housework - ugh). But beautiful summer afternoons are rare. We only get two months of them, and most of mine are spent in a windowless office working (not that I mind my day job - I enjoy alot of it). Taking a moment - to sit and eat a luscious strawberry, to read a book, draw, listen to birds - whatever it is that gives you joy, is exactly what summer should be about.  So I sat and read, and that thirty minutes or so felt like a little vacation because I was no where else but in that moment. I have to remind myself to do that more often.

What do you savour about summer? How to do you get yourself in the moment? I'd love to know.