Summertime Magic

The sights, the sounds, the scents … the exhilarating freedom. For the young, and those who remember being young, summertime is pure magic.

June 2019

Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Executive Editor

Every year in June, students step out of school and into a freedom that isn’t really appreciated until it’s, well, gone. Until the duties of adulthood hem in your world, and open your mind’s eye to days long past.

To magical summer days. To days of warm rain and cool shade, hot sandy beaches and cold swimming pools. To days of exploring creeks and woods. Of playing hide-and-seek as crickets and tree frogs usher in nighttime.

Summer scents imprint themselves on you for a lifetime. The murky smell of saltwater … the tang of fresh-mowed grass … the soft sweetness of lilac bushes, all stir memories of languid summer days more than half a century ago.

Summer’s storehouse of memories also includes warm, bright mornings riding bikes or roaming on foot. Sultry afternoons inside a cool, dark movie theater, enjoying a bag overflowing with popcorn, a soda and a John Wayne western, all for less than a fancy cup of coffee costs me today.

More than anything, summer memories recall a bright landscape, green and bountiful. A landscape stretching to the horizon, filled with adventure and play and leisure and learning, and most of all, with exhilarating freedom. For the young, and for those of us who remember being young, summertime is pure magic.

For me, summer’s strongest magic would happen late at night, in a house grown still, the only sound the steady heartbeat of the grandfather clock, my bedside lamp casting the only light. It was then that summer would usher into my bedroom an array of new worlds, worlds entered through books — not schoolbooks or assigned books — but books I had chosen.

In particular, books by my favorite boyhood author, the late Ray Bradbury. He expanded my horizons far beyond that small bedroom in books such as The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, I Sing the Body Electric!, and my all-time summer favorite, Dandelion Wine. Its opening passage follows, as do excerpts from other summertime classics, offered with the hope that they’ll sprinkle a little more magic into your summer of 2019.