Crossing the solstice, we have entered the season of plenty. The Scandinavian summers however are short and the weather very unstable. Even yesterday, which was forecast to be sunny and warm by meteorologists, turned out to be more or less a cloudy and dull affair.
I love summers endlessly though and I have always done so. Being a true summer child, I was born in July and I worship this season passionately. So full of colour and light, it is additionally abundant with scents and tastes as well.
We all know the wonderful property of our senses and the way they are connected to our recollection. How a sound, a fragrance or that particular tingling of our palate can bring back moments in time, so easily and with such an elegance.
I have collected here ten such significant catalysts of wide range of perceptions, which speak summer to me like nothing else can.
The Sound Of Cicadas.
I grew up in family of sun worshipers and almost as far back as I can remember, we used to travel south to the Mediterranean for summer vacations. The sounds of Cicadas equals summer to me, as these little critters are not native to Central nor Northern Europe. Thus their exotic song brings the feeling of summer to my senses in its purest form possible.
Fireflies were the sign of summer while I lived in North Carolina. I will never forget those humid, hot nights, full of sounds of crickets and insects and full of these small specks of light, adding an enchanting feeling to the hot summers of the southeast.
Coconut Fragrance And Taste.
As a fragrance in sunscreens, shower gels and shampoos and as a taste in exotic drinks, nothing speaks of tropics more loudly than the coconut.
The Feel Of A Warm Sand.
The feel of hot sand of the beach between my toes and between my fingers, sticking to my blanket and to my skin, oiled in tanning lotion, while I listen to the gentle surf, watching the endless blue of the sea... Only in summer.
The Song Of Swallows.
The flight and the song of swallows as the day is closing to its end, brings back the summers of my childhood like nothing else can. Almost in instant I am transported back to the Czech country side, where I spent every single summer until I was thirteen.
Scent Of Melted Asphalt.
That scent takes me back to Czech country side too, decades in time, in a split second. I recall walking barefoot on a small country road, after spending an hour or two swimming in the local river during lazy summer days. The hot asphalt would almost give in under my feet, as I was leaving footprints behind, having fun trying to burst the small bubbles, which would form on the melting surface, while its particular scent hung in the hot air.
Scent (and Taste) Of Barbecue.
Moving forward in time, barbecue reminds me of the Scandinavian summers and always will. As soon as the first sun rays warm the cold North, the scent of grilling is everywhere. The Scandinavians worship the elusive sun and move their cooking outside during the white nights.
I have described what they mean to me in such a detail before, thus any more words feel obsolete. I can only add that the midnight sun was the only summer sign I dearly missed while I lived in North Carolina.
Taste Of Strawberries Warmed By The Sun.
My first real summer job as a teenager involved picking of strawberries. There is nothing that literally screams summer more loudly to me, then the sweet taste of the red berry, picked during a hot, sunny day. The Scandinavian strawberries are renowned for their superb quality and are exported all over Europe. A celebration of the Midsummer is never complete without a strawberry cake, made with freshly picked berries.
Scent Of Fresh Cut Grass.
The ultimate sign of summer, that stretches back in time and encompasses both my childhood and adulthood. Endlessly soothing, like a blanket of comfort, when the fragrance of cut grass spreads through the air, it instigates security and happiness. It brings back the meadows of my childhood as well as the city parks and the country side of my teenage years. And even today, this scent defines summer just outside the windows of my white house on a hill like nothing else can. A universal sign of summer in every corner of the world that harbours the four seasons; as soon as the grass grows again, summer has begun.