By the time this magazine makes its way into your hands, we still may be slogging through the last of the rainy season (although as I write this, we are experiencing one of those hope-inspiring strings of sunny days in April). But sooner or later, summer will arrive and with it all the warm-weather rituals that are so personal yet universal. For some, it’s opening the cabin or taking out the boat for the first time; I’m more of a simple-pleasure type of gal.
My top 10 signs that summer has arrived are: 1) needing sunglasses for real; 2) neighbors coming out of hibernation; 3) the whir of electric (natch) lawn mowers—at 8 a.m.; 4) the first day at the beach at Carkeek Park or the coast—without fleece; 5) cursing the steroidal weeds and how fast everything but tomatoes grow this time of year (my neighbor swears she can hear the grass growing); 6) endless shearing of our box elder hedges (we have two big round ones on which I’m tempted to go all Edward Scissorhands and carve out a Pac-Man profile); 7) the smell of good things cooking on the grill; 8) neighborhood parades, especially the ones with the sparkly drill teams and the cute little majorette trying to keep up; 9) our back door flung wide open for hours at a stretch with the kids running inside and out; 10) road trips and weekends away. Plus, bonus number 11, lots of chilled, crisp Washington white wine.
For the last few years, I’ve been wishing for one of those ridiculously expensive red CRP recycled plastic Adirondack chairs from Swansons, the swank garden shop near Blue Ridge. I might have been the only person in Seattle wishing for a rainy day during Swansons’ big sale in April. This year I was determined to take advantage of the deals (40 percent off when it’s raining, 20 percent off when it’s sunny), but it came during a particularly crazy time at work, which coincided with that crazy stretch of weather when it rained one minute and was sunshiny the next. We were down to the last days, and I couldn’t find the time to go, so my dear husband got the chair for me, and now it sits under our pear tree—my new summer tradition, waiting for the perfect summer day and my free time to sync up. If only there were a way to store that summer feeling for those SAD days of winter when we really need a mental boost.
If you don’t have a set of warm-weather traditions yet, consider this issue your checklist. I’m planning to add a few new ones, too—including lawn bowling at a spot we’ve decided has the best city view in all of Seattle I’m also looking forward to keeping up with photographer Matika Wilbur’s work. I first heard about Wilbur’s project photographing portraits of people from all 562 registered Native American tribes (and many others) on KUOW-FM and I had to share (see page 104 in our June 2013 issue). She is a captivating storyteller in person, and our story captures only a fraction of her epic undertaking.