Summer Days, Drifting Away

Whether it's floating down the Gunpowder or catching lightning bugs, here are ways to squeeze joys out of the last weekend of the season

August 28, 2008|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,

Summer's not officially over when Labor Day hits. But it may as well be. More than winter, more than autumn, more than spring, summer is a state of mind, existing not so much because of the calendar, not so much because of the temperature, but because we close our eyes, exhale and let it happen. After Labor Day, as we become about less vacation and more school, more work, more wearing shoes, summer fades. It evaporates like condensation on a glass of lemonade.

But before it's gone for another year, there's one weekend left - a long one. Make it good.

Kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the grass.

Turn on the yard sprinkler and let the kids bound through the spray. Then bound through yourself.

When the ice cream man jingles through the neighborhood, shriek, grab a dollar, flag him down and choose a fudgesicle, a push-up, anything that tastes sweet and silly, exactly like when you were in fourth grade.

Drive to Monkton, rent a tube and let the lazy current of the Gunpowder Falls float you down the river.

Tie a cooler of beer to that inner tube, dangle your legs in the bracing river water, lay back and watch the clouds.

Catch the closing act of Little Italy's al fresco movie series. Cinema Paradiso starts at 9 p.m. tomorrow at High and Stiles streets. Be there early. Bring a chair.

As darkness falls on the neighborhood and the projector rolls, breathe in a whiff of red sauce and imagine that you, like the film's hero, are young, Sicilian and head over heels for the cinema.

Stain your fingers purple picking blackberries at a farm.

When the perfume of peaches calls to you at the farmers' market, answer and then churn them into fresh ice cream.

Work some of it off pretending you're Michael Phelps in the pool, kicking like a dolphin.

Steam crabs.

Spit watermelon seeds.

Two syllables: Putt Putt.

Catch a show under the stars in Annapolis' Summer Garden Theatre. It's the final weekend for All Shook Up, a breezy musical featuring Elvis hits.

Find a cafe with outdoor seating, commandeer a table, slouch there for hours slurping gazpacho and sipping sangria.

Seriously consider margaritas.

Roll your windows down but crank the stereo way up.

Treat your dog to the walk of his life. Or - he'll love you soooo much - let him splash in the waves at one of the dog beaches at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis or Downs Park in Pasadena.

Paint the wildest hue onto your toenails.

Find that squirt gun and teach the kids who's boss.

Put down Audacity of Hope. Pick up the new David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and take it out on the porch.

At the Maryland State Fair, let the Ferris wheel push a breeze through your hair. Ride the thing that might make you nauseous in case it doesn't. Strut the midway.

Walk the agriculture stalls, petting every animal on its fuzzy nose.

And then, then, if you really call yourself Baltimorean, get thee to a snowball stand, step to the counter and triumphantly order a jumbo ball - either egg cream or skylite. As they scrape that ice, shaving it into the most delicate of flakes, say nothing other than, "Yes, please" when asked about marshmallow.

Walk your brimming cup of joy to the nearest steps, bench, curb or car bumper and lean back.

Lick a little marshmallow off the top.


Watch for fireflies if it's evening.

Listen for crickets if it's not.

Make that treat last.

the last hurrah

Gunpowder tubing:

Little Italy outdoor movie series:

Maryland pick-your-own farms:

Annapolis' Summer Garden Theatre:

Quiet Waters and Downs parks:

Maryland State Fair:

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