Ode to Summer

September 23rd is officially the last day of summer, but the signs of fall have been in the air for the last couple of weeks. Where did summer go? I feel like time goes faster, even though I am less pushed for time now that I am retired. We live where there are four distinct seasons, which I love. And I adore fall, but it is hard to say goodbye to summer because it is so chock full of wonderful things to do. Other than camping, we try not to travel much June through September because summer is so beautiful where we live. Winters are another thing. (Fair warning, prepare for summer photo overload in this post.) Most of my summer delights are simple things like:

  • A more relaxed casual pace
  • Gathering friends and family around the pizza oven
The pizza oven area has become a favorite Gathering Place.
  • Dining al fresco
  • Sunsets
  • Getting loads of vitamin D
  • Being on/in the water
  • BBQing (although we brave doing this even in the cold weather)
  • Campfires and the obligatory s’mores
  • Camping
  • Riding my bike in nature’s beauty
  • Foraging for huckleberries
  • Garden to table eating
  • And last but not least… it is easier to drive (no slick, icy roads)

The vast majority of my life has been controlled by the school calendar. First it was grade school, followed by too many years in college. Mr. U’s entire professional career was in secondary education and of course our kids’ lives revolved around their school schedule. Then the last 15 years of my career, I spent in academia. EVERYTHING had to fit around the school schedule. Now it is controlled by the feel of the air as the seasons change. I am making a conscious effort to enjoy each season for what it has to offer. Towards the end of summer, I always reflect on whether there is anything I have not yet done this summer, that I will regret I missed. Then I try to fit that in before the days get colder. I think I will try to be proactive this time and make a list of all the things I love about fall and make sure I take time to do them.

It is the simple things I don’t want to miss this fall. Things like…. kayaking in the early morning before the fog lifts off of the lake, gathering family to go tailgating before the university football game, trying a new soup recipe, harvesting the corn stocks, pumpkins and gourds from the garden to decorate the front porch, breathing in the heady scent of an afternoon slash fire, savoring that first bite of a fresh warm pumpkin doughnut, and going on a walk in the late afternoon shadows to gather acorns and water chestnuts for roadsidea. It is the simple things that make the season tangible and take our breath away. And it is the simple things that can slip by unexperienced or unnoticed because the big stuff pushes them out of the way. Obligations, commitments and the mundane tasks of living are like an aggressive bully, shoving the joy out unnoticed. I have to remind myself that I control my own schedule in retirement. I decide what I am going to prioritize. When life feels like the days go by too quickly, it can cause anxiety. The antidote to that is to intentionally slow down and appreciate the moments. So, this fall I am making a commitment to myself to take time to fully experience the season through my five senses.

Speaking of enjoying life with your five senses – there is a new place in town

The beautiful kitchen is open to the dining area.
Sorella’s has an extensive cocktail menu.

Well technically, it is not in my town, but it is only a quick 45 minutes away. I would love to keep this place to myself, but it is too late. The word is out. Sorella’s, which means sister in Italian, is the perfect blend of upscale, yet relaxed, and old world, yet modern Italian dining. I want a restaurant to have a great atmosphere, as well as great food. I want it to appeal to as many of my five senses as possible. The young woman who started the restaurant a few months ago had a vision that came through in every detail, from the fresh flowers to the classy chandeliers, to the big chunky Italian marble slab for the bar. You are immediately taken into the moody vibe as soon as you enter, with melting candles and a gallery wall that the owner created herself. She collected vintage pictures of classic places in Italy, Italian cookbooks, advertisements and people. These are all in thrifted frames that the owner painted an antique brass. All of the food is served on mismatched china that she collected from thrift stores. Love it! It is the perfect blend of old-world charm and contemporary chick.

My niece invited my sister and I to join her at Sorella’s for dinner and the food was sooooo good. My niece, who knows the owner and had been there before, suggested we try several different menu items and share them. For an antipasto we had Dante’s Meatballs. The description of them on the menu says, “that is all you need to know” and they are absolutely right. Order them if you go. We followed that with the Burrata salad, which was sublime. Such a wonderful, unexpected blend of flavors. The Bolognese has house made pappardelle. Honestly, I think I could have just eaten that by itself and been happy, but the sauce adds a delectable rich flavor. I was surprised when my niece suggested we order the carrots. One taste and I knew why. They were roasted with goat cheese, fresh parsley, hazelnuts and hot honey. Heaven help me, I was in gastronomic heaven. I will definitely be going back.

I hope you have a great week. Do you have some favorite seasonal activities? Be sure to slow down and use your five senses to revel in them!

13 comments on “Ode to Summer

  1. Great photos. There are 4 distinct seasons here in NE Alberta as well and we go hard spring, summer & fall. Snow means slow. That’s when I can hunker down in front of the wood stove and read or partake of afternoon movies (when the snow shoveling is done!).

    1. Hi Mona –
      I have mixed feelings about the snow. It is beautiful and I love it, until about January and then I get tired of being cold, driving on slick roads and yes…shoveling. I think I just need to adjust my attitude towards it. I might have to adopt the “snow means slow” and appreciate that aspect of it.

    1. Hi Donna –

      Od/ode, tomato/tomoto. Either way it was a pretty good summer. I just wish it would have lasted longer.

  2. I love the gathering area you have by your pizza oven; I can see why that would be a favorite. Our weather has cooled down quite a bit lately so it looks like summer may be over a few days early (September and into October are often our warmest months). I’m a little sorry to see it go but also looking forward to wearing sweaters and making soup!

    1. Hi Janis –
      September can be a beautiful month here too. Thank you for reminding me about sweaters and I do love a pot of soup simmering all day. It is all in the attitude!

    1. Hi Mitch –
      It is funny how certain things mark the beginning or ending of a season. I can see where covering the swimming pool would definitely be a closure to summer. That would be a tough one for me. I just keep reminding myself to enjoy what each season brings. We are going tailgating & to a football game at our alma mater tomorrow. A sure sign of one of the fun things about fall.

  3. Hi Marian! I loved your photos and am VERY jealous that you have such wonderful weather during the summer! We leave in the desert southwest so our summers are a time to escape rather than enjoy. (of course we do have WONDERFUL FALL, WINTER AND SPRING times so it is a trade off.). Thank you for sharing your great photos enjoying your time there and who knows? Maybe next summer will visit your area and see what it’s like for ourselves! ~Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy –
      It will be my turn to be very jealous of your weather in about two months. While you try to escape the heat of summer, we try to escape the cold, gray days of winter. I think snow-birding would be the ultimate weather answer. Would that be considered sun-birding for people who live in the south??? Let me know if you head up our way next summer as I would love to share some recommendations with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *