Signs of summer ending make me sad.  The first phase of summer leaving is an earlier sunset.  That’s very important to a night owl because, not only do I love the night, but I also love the daylight.  Although my hours awake and asleep don’t change, I feel like my days are happily extended.  I revel in late sunsets that color the sky so prettily.

Although the seasons don’t change in southern California as drastically as in most other places, summer weather has its own identity with certain plants blooming and different smells wafting around us.  Unlike most of the U.S. this particular summer, our weather was generally quite delightful.  Sizzling hot days didn’t last too long.  And even then the evenings were cool, so no sticking to the sheets as I remember from humid childhood summers in the east coast.  And, while we have a large range of insects, mosquitoes are thankfully rare.  Like most southern California summers, the sky was deep blue and rain was nowhere around, although fog often layered Laguna Beach and sometimes reached us.

Living in retirement also gives a sameness to the seasons.  However, this summer I purposely changed my schedule to less of a schedule.  I reached back to childhood summers where my days were mine to do with what I wanted.  Although I could not stop exercising every day as usual, I did different exercises at other times of the day.  I also returned to swimming and realized how much I had missed it even though I wasn’t sure why I had stopped swimming.

I often craved just sitting on my patio in my dad’s old reclining chair catching up with the newspapers and reading interesting books on new subjects.  If one can’t actually do something, the next best is to read about doing it.  When not at the ocean’s side, my second favorite place to be is right here on my patio surrounded by my plants.  Summer is also my time for visits with two of my Chinese families who live in the U.S.  And, this summer I had a totally new experience joining one family on a cruise to Mexico.  In all my travels, I’ve never traveled like that before.  My only disappointment on the cruise was that I was hoping to see zillions of stars, but night time fog on the sea hid them from me.

Fewer activities and fewer obligations seemed to free my thinking.  In May, I started another book.  And I kept up my blogs and was rewarded with more readers.  I also settled down more contentedly than before, noticing more of how much beauty is around me, and making a choice toward concentrating on the positives in life.  It’s so easy to get dragged down by the negatives.  But now I am seeking out more friends like Pollyanna, those special people who always look on the bright side of life.

So, it’s been a good summer for me.  Thankfully, there are still summer fruits in the supermarkets.  And our weather here stays quite summerish through September.  That gives me more time to transition to cooler weather,  fall colors, and apple cider.  The craft festivals and the helpful trolleys in Laguna Beach will end; a good percentage of the tourists will leave.  But the ocean will stay to delight me throughout the year.

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