Summer Speak


We have a vocabulary for the easy season.

With the solstice, we slip into summer speak, like saying, “yes, please,” to the offer of a cold glass, sweating on a hot afternoon.

Summer’s lexicon of languor has an optimistic tone, borne of school-free days and chill-free nights. Nat King Cole gave us “days of sodas and pretzels and beer,” even as he suffered days of racial hate.

This particular season’s words taste bitterer than dandelion greens: choke, tase, spike, peak. And our postcards are placards about realities that are no vacation.

There is hope that summer’s long days might shine light on wounds that need to heal, mending the rifts in our human family, even as the pandemic postpones potluck reunions with kin.

Talk, even small talk, helps, especially if it’s porch to porch, across sidewalks, beyond borders.

Have a seat. Let’s chat a bit, allowing our conversation to lilt light as the welcome breeze our grandmothers encouraged with hand-held fans. Let’s pass the time while curtains soften the intense heat of the day and ice cubes and horseshoes clink their own idle harmony.

Words of our season in common:

Seersucker

Gingham

Sprinkler

Lawn

Berries, shortcake

Peach, pie

Linen

White

Itch, scratch

Egg, sidewalk

Bare (feet, shoulders, floors)

Lazy, hazy

Hammock

Calamine

Citronella

Watermelon

Wicker

Mower

Marshmallow

Hotdog

Fair

Queen Anne’s lace

Belly smacker

Cannonball

Horseshoes

Sand

Hollyhock

Clover

Skeeters, buzz

Crickets, chirp

Charcoal

Cookout

Rose, Rosé

Shade, shades

Bermuda shorts

Flip-flops

Rash

Grass

Burn, blister, bite, Band-aid

Dew

Lemonade

Iced

Cottage

Raft

Postcard

Popsicle

Picnic

Cooler

Beer

Baked beans

Oscillating

SPF, AC, BLT, BBQ, RV, RBI

Porch

Screen

Scorcher

Swing

Heat lightning

Potato salad

Patio

Parade

Firecrackers, fireworks, flags

Tomato

Tonic

Collins

Sundae

S’more

Ice cream social

Keds

Sundress

Madras

Canoe

Campfire

Sparkler

Beach

Clambake

Adirondack

Archery

Bikini

Maillot

Awning

Outboard

Scoop, dip, cone, malted

Convertible

Espadrilles

Canvas

Baseball

High sky

Twinight doubleheader

Drive-in

Hot, humid

Flypaper

Knee-high (by the Fourth of July)

Fish fry

Firefly

Fleeting