July is watermelon and tan legs.
It's long, hot days and lazy hours spent on the porch or by the pool. It's day-long adventures on the water and breathtaking hikes full of luscious green.
For years (in fact, almost every year of my life) summer has been whatever I've wanted it to be. When I was young it was spending every day at the pool and catching lightning bugs at night, watching them twinkle in a mason jar until I fell asleep. It was friendship bracelets and tree houses and it felt like the closest I'd ever come to magic.
Years later it was trips with friends' families, late nights on the porch with glasses of sweet tea and long, winding conversations at friends' houses until somebody fell asleep. It was feeling purely in love with the smell of summer air wafting through the windows and the sound of the fan puttering away into the night.
Now it's a precarious balance of work and play. It's driving six hours to see family and trying to squeeze the marrow out of every second of it because I now know that our time here is brief. It's planning trips with friends and visits and buying groceries and feeling uncomfortably grown up. But the growing up part has sparked a certain awareness. I now look back at summers past and see how magical it all was, and I'm glad I was oblivious to the blessing in some sense because it makes it all the more touching now.
Because now when I have a moment to step outside and breathe, I know the gravity of the gift I am given. Because now when I pull in the driveway at home and hug my family and taste my mom's chicken salad I know that it's more than just food. Because now when I hike to the top of a mountain I am more aware of my Creator and it's more than an alternative to the gym.
Because now, more things in life leave me misty-eyed. Goodbyes seem to be harder than they used to be and Hellos are much more anticipated. But the beauty of growing up is that it allows for a waking up to the world--tasting just how marvelous and terrible it all is. That we are all woven into this beautiful mess of a tapestry as imperfectly gorgeous as it always will be.
And then the fact that your heart is beating and breath fills your lungs and sounds vibrate your ears and you can taste chocolate on the tip of your tongue if you want to becomes the greatest thing you've ever discovered.
I am thankful to have woken up to the world.