The older that I get, the more I seem to appreciate the familiarity of life, and the yearly touch stones that punctuate the flow of the seasons.
Or maybe I’m in a rut.
If so, it’s a pleasant rut.
Here in the mountains of Pennsylvania, summer seems rather precious. The truly temperate period of our year seems short, lasting between perhaps early June to late September. It is during this brief span of time that we must have our fill of swimming, boating, sunning, and al fresco dining.
Given our latitude, and our altitude (around 2000 feet) summer weather is generally quite pleasant with warm days and cool nights, and only a very few truly stifling periods that cause me to second guess the lack of air conditioning in my bedroom.
The natural world unfolds in a predictable way. From photographic standpoint, sometimes summer seems like a succession of flowering events, from the honeysuckles, to the mountain laurels, to the foxglove and rhododendron, then finally to the cardinal flowers of late summer.
The foxglove in particular, has invaded our homestead. Given that they are low maintenance and quite beautiful, this is not particularly a problem. Another bonus is that, unlike much of our foliage, they are apparently deer-resistant. I suspect that this is courtesy of the digitalis they manufacture in their leaves.
In our region, the summer is punctuated by festivals and bazaars, all occupying their particular weekend throughout June, July, and August.
Though these events are similar in format, the sponsoring towns, parishes, and volunteer fire departments, still betray a hint of their previous ethnicity in their themes and food selections. One can spend a very pleasant (and hyper caloric) summer attending the various events.
Fourth of July like the rest of the country means parades, and fireworks. This year on the occasion of his 90th birthday, my father Dr. Henry Smith Sr. was chosen to be the Grand Marshall, of our very local Fourth of July parade. He now claims to be waiting for a call from Macy’s.
Over the summer, our local railroad runs an old locomotive, pulling passenger cars, up and down the line between Pittston, and Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania. This is quite a scenic route, passing through sections of the Gifford Pinchot State Forest, and the Lehigh Gorge State Park.
With the windows of my old home open for the summer, it is pleasant hear the distant “chuffing” of the engine, and the sound of a steam whistle predictably announcing arrival at several road crossings near to my community.
As much as one may profess to love the other seasons, the simple joy and the casual comfort of summer is hard to deny. With each year I feel a twinge more regret as post-solstice, the days get shorter.
Just a reminder: to see larger, higher resolution version of these images and others, you can visit my Smugmug site here.