An ode to summer

Labor Day has come and gone. The end days of summer are here and already the approach of fall is upon us. Literally, everywhere I look there are captions and comments of fall in social media posts; Target has brought out their sweaters, long sleeves, and pumpkins in the dollar section; cafes and bakeries are serving pumpkin-flavored coffee and danishes; I noticed that there are a few crumpled brown leaves that have fallen in my driveway. I might have partaken in this joyful arrival of the upcoming season; I mean who wouldn’t? 2020 has been rough, the least we can do is stretch out this wondrous fall and make the most of it. It’s the beginning of the end of a once-in-a-generational year, which also means the beginning of a whole new year is to come soon.


Before getting caught all up in what is to come, I have to acknowledge that this summer was some of the best of times, during some of the worst of times. This summer I was in love with a precious human, my Plus 1. Even during COVID, we did so much within the hot mid-months.  We laid in the shade in our hammock while staring up at the blue sky, reading books we got from the bookshop down the street. There were nights we threw pillows and blankets in the back of his car and drove to the local drive-in to watch The Goonies and Dirty Dancing on the big screen. There were lemon pastries baked in kitchens. Film photos taken of us and animals at the Indianapolis Zoo during the sweltering heat, masks on with happy smiles underneath. There were drives through cornfields, stops at gas stations to get coffee, state parks where we hiked and found gorgeous sites, where we got caught in the rain. On July 1, in the heat of summer, we went out to a sunflower field and picked blooms that left yellow pollen on our figures and counters. There were nights where we just sat with each other and talked until sunset, which was around 9:45 pm. There were nights we watched movies, both scary (his favorite) and sappy (my favorite). There was a night where we both got so into the movie You Got Mail that we yelled and the screen when Joe Fox wouldn’t tell Kathleen Kelly that he was the person she was emailing all along. 

There was the time, when the city started to open back up, where we went out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate the months we’ve spent together so far. We got dressed up and went downtown to eat stake, asparagus in butter, fancy-ass French fries, and a dessert of cheesecake and champagne. 

This summer was a collection of wonderful moments that I dare never to forget, even as we move on to fall and winter. I’m writing about these happy things not because we didn’t have any hardships over the summer, but the joyful moments were found amount all those hardships. Even when things didn’t go as planned, we adjusted and went on. We moved to the beat of the rhythm we found ourselves in and found joy in it. We celebrated and made good memories out of everything that was given to us. 

It is this year that I will never forget, because even though it was some of the oddest of times, it was also the absolute best of times. And I am forever grateful.


This weekend, my family went on a camping trip. It was one of two plans my Plus 1 and I have to close out the summer. I logged off of social media and took each moment as they came, enjoying the time outdoors with family. I slept in a tent, listening to the hum of crickets and bugs throughout the night. The morning was one I’ll always remember, waking up as the sun was coming over the horizon, 7:15 am, drinking coffee to take the sleep out of my eyes, walking through wildflowers patches, and seeing the moon disappear has the day came into being. 

I’m ready for the sweaters and the colors and the chill that fall brings, but before I completely hop on that train, this summer deserved an ode, because these things and even more I haven’t mentioned are wonderful memories, ones I’ll never forget. Happy end-of-summer to you. Here’s to the golden days.

Currently listening to: Golden Days by Whitney

Summer Garden // 01

When I was a kid, my mom used to grow a huge garden every summer. It was a raised garden bed, made out of wood two by fours. The bed was about four feet wide but rain the entire length of the yard. Our yard wasn’t that big, but the garden always seemed huge to me. It hosted an array of plants–peas and green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, carrots and lettuce, and a variety of herbs ranging from thyme to rosemary. There was also a smaller garden on the side of the yard where a strawberry plan liked to expand its vines, always came back larger and larger every season.

I remember that garden because it provided the staples for our summer dishes. We’d make jams and jellies and chop up the carrots to go along with the chicken ‘n noodles. We had so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we’d canned some of them for the colder months.

My Mom’s Garden – Circa 2012

I’ve had relatively small gardens myself since then. Nothing more than a few herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and, this year, spinach. They are in raised garden beds, but not the kind made out of wood slates that are a big as the yard allows, but ones that are plastic and sit nicely on a patio deck.

When spending all of the prior cold months inside, it makes me excited to spread out all the green and tend to something that I can harvest later. It also reminds me of when I was a kid, gardening with my mom in the months of May, June, July, and August.

Since this spring was my senior year in college, I spent most of my time with my head in the books while on campus. I didn’t have much time to shop at gardening stores or Lowes for seeds or even started plants. However, my school has its own greenhouse on top of the science and technology building, and–at the end of every semester–the biology club sells the pants from the greenhouse. So, miraculously, I picked up the few staples I grow every summer thanks to the break that I took studying and the biology club.

The only small thing that this came with was I had to bring the plants with me to class the rest of the day. It wasn’t so bad, I just had a lot of people commenting on my plant babies.

They had a nice little box to sit in while I toted them around.

Now that they’re planted in my garden, they have been growing steadily. My tomatoes have stemmed out and have become fuller, while my lettuce is becoming leafier. I’ve already harvested a few leaves from the basil plant. The rosemary and parsley haven’t grown too much, but they’re a bit slower at growth. I added fertilizer to the beds a few days ago, the growth of all the plants started to become stagnate and it made me worry, but as soon as I fed the little baby plants they’ve been lively since. I planted spinach by seed a few days ago. It’s slightly late in the spring seasons to plant the first batch of spinach, so they haven’t sprouted yet. Hopefully, they will sprout soon.

I’m looking forward to harvesting the first of my lettuce soon, hopefully, the tomatoes will come shortly after. I’ve been looking for good recipes so I can use my herbs in summery dishes. Maybe I can make a full-on meal with everything I’ve grown, substituting a few things from the grocery store.

The whole process of growing plants and getting to use their harvest is both humbling and satisfactory. I hope this tiny garden that I’ve had the past few years can grow into a larger one in the years to come, just like the one my mom used to tend to in the summer months when I was a kid.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even get into winter gardening, something that’s always peaked my interested but I’ve never ventured out to try.