Summer’s Lease

Summer's lease hath all too short a date. ~William Shakespeare

by Amy Richardson

Summer's lease hath all too short a date. ~William Shakespeare (

Today marks the first day of summer, the rich season of hard work and hard play. It’s a special time of year when the seeds of spring have been sown and the harvest of fall is yet to come. The days are long and the nights are warm.

For centuries, cultures around the world have celebrated the summer solstice with festivals centered on this fertile season’s bounty. In our modern world, we celebrate all summer long with picnics and fireworks and family vacations. Growing up in the Deep South, our summer traditions included long afternoons rocking on my great-grandmother’s porch glider, fish fries at my grandparent’s house, and family reunions complete with a picnic spread of juicy watermelon and fried chicken. The grownups were still hard at work behind the scenes, I suppose, while we played in the water sprinkler and built forts in the woods behind our house. Summers back then seemed to last forever!

Now, summer seems more fleeting. For farmers, summer break is not a break at all, but usually one of the busiest times of year as extra daylight tempts us to scratch more off of our to-do lists and kids, home from school, lend their helping hands to winter projects cast aside. But the season offers at least the illusion of a slower pace—if we allow it. Why not be fooled by that illusion, if only for today? Take a moment to sit back on the porch with family and friends and enjoy the fruits of your hard work and reminisce about summers past, because as Shakespeare wrote, “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”

How will you spend “the longest day of the year?” Share your plans in the comment field below.

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