Seasonal Living – Autumnal Equinox – Goodbye, Summer 2020

purpleflowerOne thing I’m really trying to incorporate into my life more, and have been for, like, at least a decade, is living in tune with the seasons.

For whatever reason, seasons have always been so important to me, from when I was a kid onward. Maybe it’s the nature as spirituality part of me. Maybe it’s part of my ancestral DNA or epigenetics (I haven’t done my genealogy, but my parents have and both are very, very Irish). Maybe it’s just something that got ingrained in me at a young age and inscribed deeply. It feels pre-verbal, this love of seasons. Primal.

But it’s hard to live in tune with the seasons even if you live in them (and I don’t think I could live somewhere without them) when you’re a med student. Or a premed student juggling school and a job and research and volunteering and extracurricular activities all the time.

Last summer, I thought about keeping a list of little things I did or ate or experienced that felt summer-y, as a way of reminding myself that I still live in a place with seasons and that I’m still encountering them. I kept a mental list in my head but never wrote it down.

Then in fall, I told myself I’d write things down and kept an even more extensive mental list. Some were tiny moments, like this one time in preceptorship our patient no-showed and my preceptor and I walked to her office in a separate building, and on that walk inside the building with her office, we passed some windows that looked out to the perfect fall picture of bright red and orange leaves on a tree outside. Little things like that.

But I never wrote them down and soon couldn’t remember most of what was originally on my mental list–this is when med school and advocacy exhaustion started to crash in hard. And I never kept mental track of anything from mid-fall, or winter, or spring. I never even thought of my seasonal list ideas.

The idea came back this summer though, and I kept a list–a real, written, not just in my head list–on my Notes app. Now that summer is officially over, I thought I’d share the list on here.

I should say that ALL of the outdoor and interactive things were done with masks on.

Seasonal Living – Summer 2020

  • A walk under the hot sun up and down the esplanade (7+ miles) and got sunburned
  • drinking smoothies from Greenleaf with friends at the park (three different times)
  • Walks back and forth across the Tilikum Bridge
    • sounds of boat motors and what sounded like tugboat horns
    • perfect blue skies and blue skies with a couple fluffy white clouds
    • the river looked blue
    • tourists out walking the bridge along with bikers and walkers and runners
  • drinking iced tea out the back of CLSB
  • smell of honeysuckle by CLSB
  • Laying in the grass on Elizabeth Caruthers park
  • A walk alongside the river on the west side, through parks and trails
  • little white flowersWalks on Terwiliger Boulevard (all different times of day)
    • sunlight hitting the tops of trees in the evening, and in morning and afternoons, so much sunlight filtering down through bright green trees
    • sunlight streaking the grass
    • hot sun at Capitol Hwy intersection
    • so many people out walking their dogs and kids, running, biking (we started to get to know the Dogs of Terwiliger)
    • feeling it start to heat up hot for the day on morning walks
    • summer breezes
    • light out late – we were sometimes out till 9:30 or even later
    • eating thimbleberries, huckleberries, blackberries and plums along the way
    • crossing Capitol Hwy into the wooded area and stopping to listen to the quiet
    • smelling summer cooking, cookouts, bonfires and fires in fire pits
    • smelling lavender bushes by houses and evening summer woods
    • the sound of summer bugs on hot late afternoons and evenings
    • came across a guy playing guitar outside by some picnic tables
    • shirtless runners
    • humidity
  • Walks to Council Crest Park, through sunny (and cloudy) summer mornings, through the woods
    • Sitting in the sun on a bench at Council Crest
    • dappled sunlight
    • eating blackberries off the side of the roads on the hill
    • eating thimbleberries and huckleberries in the woods
  • Happy hour at the Chart House with summer food and summer drinks
  • waking up early and it was already light out
  • quick walks under perfect blue skies (and sometimes sweltering heat) to pick up food at the Farmer’s Market
  • so bright outside my window it’s hard to see the TV even at night
  • summer PJs, wearing shorts, tank tops, cropped workout pants out on walks
  • going over a friend’s and spending the day outside – sitting and eating lunch in the backyard, going over to another friend’s  and eating watermelon in their backyard while dogs and kids played outside, then back to my friends and sat in the driveway talking and feeling the summer breeze
  • taking a Lyft home and seeing the 7pm sun strong streaking lawns with summer green and yellow, feeling the wind in my hair
  • dead, dry grass
  • sleeping with the fan on
  • wearing (prescription) sunglasses pretty much every time I went outside
  • open windows
  • seeing full, bright green tree across the street out my window
  • drinking margaritas outside Cha Cha Cha (twice, the second time, had to go inside because of bees)
  • getting a pedicure
  • walking around (across the river, to the farmer’s market) in sandals
  • bright citrus sunflower candle
  • sleeping under my summer bedspread

Summer Cooking

  • homemade iced tea pretty much every day
  • tacos for dinner
  • salads for lunch
  • Eating my Farmer’s Market goodies
    • huge batch of strawberries one week – so many I had to give a bunch of pints away
    • raspberries and mixed berries
    • fruit medleys with berries and peaches and cherries and cherry tomatoes and plums
    • zucchini
    • apricots
  • berries and cherries and peaches in my oatmeal
  • zucchini in egg burritos
  • Daily Harvest vegan ice cream

Late Summer

  • Morning walk on Terwiliger
    • more leaves on the side of the road and on the Terwiliger path
    • picking up huge maple leaves
    • lots of summer green in the trees and sunlight on the straw-colored grass, and some sunlight on yellow and orange leaves, just a little bit in all the green
    • some trees just slightly starting to turn but most still brilliant green and lush
    • late summer woods smell
  • shopping labor day sales and getting fall candles
  • fire season – hey not everything seasonal is positive, and fire season is now a thing here so felt it should be included
  • apples and pears in my Farmer’s Market fruit medley boxes
  • thunderstorms
  • the first rain in months

What made summer feel like summer for you?
Any season-themed fall plans for outings or decor or cooking?

-April

PD: The picture at the top is of a purple flower surrounded by greenery. The second picture is of a fragrant flower we came across in “the neighborhood” we often walked through. It smelled like honeysuckle but I’m not sure what it is.

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