Cornell Woodland in the summertime.

(with a nod, and some apologies, to E.B. White)

This summer I should spend more time outdoors. When it’s warm out and the sun is shining (or even when it isn’t) it’s silly to stay inside. I should avoid the treadmill at the gym and go for long walks instead. I should do my reading in the hammock, not the easy chair, and eat lunch on the porch rather than in the dining room.

I should make a point this year to take time off and really enjoy the summer weather. Even if it’s just for an afternoon, I should pack up my chair and sunscreen and sun hat and towel — and a good stack of appropriately shallow reading material – and go to the beach. I should find the perfect spot – in the sun but with a cool breeze coming off the water and not another person within at least a fifteen-foot radius – and bury my nose in a trashy magazine . . . and then promptly fall asleep.

Better yet, I should persuade my husband to take some time off too, and then bring him along with me. We can pretend we’re away on vacation, with no responsibilities and nothing better to do. We’ll compare the Atlantic in Marshfield to the Atlantic in Mexico, and see if we can bear to swim in the cold water.

And while we’ve got time off, we should go to the beach at night and spend an hour or two strolling and counting the stars.

I should swim in the river this summer as well. At all of my favorite swimming places – Couch Beach on the North River, the South River at the Rexhame Dunes, that secret spot in Norwell that I’m going to keep a secret . . . And I should bring my friends – especially the ones who haven’t swum in the river yet. We can bring a picnic lunch, spread a blanket under a tree, and pretend that we have nothing more productive to do.

I should spend at least one afternoon doing nothing but floating on a raft in my parents’ pool.

I suppose I should stay on top of the weeds in my garden this year, and not let them get above a foot high, like they seem to do every summer. If I just get out there and weed once a week, I should be able to manage them pretty well. If I really had my act together I would get some salt marsh hay and mulch the plants right away so that weeding won’t even be an issue.

I should ask my husband to cut back the brush around our blueberry bushes, so that maybe they will bear more fruit this year. And I should remember to check the blueberry bushes next month and see if there’s any fruit to gather. Usually there are a few berries that the birds seem to miss, but most of the time I forget to check. If nothing else, I should go to the blueberry farm and pick my own berries, and make two pies – one for my dad and one for my husband.

I should do something really nice for my mom as well. She’s always doing nice things for me.

I definitely have to go canoeing or kayaking with my sister this summer. Every year we say we’re going to go, and every year we let the opportunity pass. Of course this year I’ll have to wait until my back injury heals before I attempt to paddle any sort of boat. I should be icing my back right now, come to think of it . . .

Since I’ll be spending more time outdoors, I should visit some new nature preserves – the local ones that I have yet to see. I keep meaning to go to Norwell’s Black Pond Bog when the orchids are in bloom, but I keep forgetting. And I hear there’s a new bridge on the trail around Jacobs Pond – I should see that as well. I should definitely go to Corn Hill Woodland in the next few weeks, while it’s still green and lush and not too overgrown.

I think the most important thing I’m going to have to do this summer is find a new favorite ice cream stand. My old favorite has changed hands. I’ll definitely stop there to see if the quality is still the same, but I owe it to myself to try out all the other ice cream places as well, so I can make an educated decision.

My dad just mentioned that he cleaned the pool because I yesterday old him my friend and her six month old baby might be stopping by for a swim this afternoon. Since they can’t make it, I should go take a dip in the pool myself. I’ve spent a lot of time here at the computer, typing away. If I’m going to accomplish all of the things on this list this summer, I’d better get started right away.

by Kezia Bacon Bernstein, Correspondent
June 2002

Kezia Bacon Bernstein’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to the preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation of the North and South Rivers and their watershed. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168.