Sense of Place: Surrender to summer
Sketches and text by Richard Sheppard / Special to Towns
There’s a tipping point of summer when daytime heat dulls the senses, slowing our usual activities to a crawl. The bucket list of wine festivals, food fairs, and concerts that sounded exciting in June begin to feel like too much effort. This is the beginning of summer’s softer side, when the high sun slows busy schedules down and allows us to reflect on the basics, like watching garden sunflowers chase the afternoon sun across the sky.
Water conservation is on everyone’s mind these days, and there are ways to revel in or around it without wasting a drop. Water sports at the pool provide opportunities to melt the heat and enjoy the neighborhood kids at play. Or lounge poolside with a cold drink and watch the motivated adults skim the surface of the lap lanes.
As the day grows long, alternating between a light summer read and dozing under the shade of a beach umbrella can be the perfect way to wrap up the afternoon.
On cooler days, few things sum up the season like a lazy fishing trip on Lake Sonoma, watching the wind skate across the water while waiting for a catch. The Dry Creek General Store houses fishing supplies in a wooden shed next door to the store: hooks, bobbers, sinkers, and night crawlers for the fishing enthusiast heading to the lake.
Arriving midday at the store temporarily breaks the summer spell, with bustling customers queueing up for daily lunch specials and signature sandwiches. Outside, rows of picnic tables and comfy chairs are often occupied by hungry cyclists, tourists, and winery workers.
It’ll be weeks before nature surrenders to the inevitable decay of autumn and a time when more intellectual pursuits replace the pleasures and lackadaisical mood of summer.
Healdsburg-based artist Richard Sheppard can be reached at theartistontheroad.com.