What Summer Really Means

Summer! It is finally here. The season most people look forward to has finally begun after long dark, cold nights. Let’s take a closer look at this season. Are most people hyped up about it? Is it one of the most magical seasons of the year? The Dutch tend for people to complain about the weather and how terrible it is. When engaging in small talk, it’s a common topic. We all hate cold and rain. Because summer brings higher temperatures, society seems a lot friendlier. There is no reason to complain. The world sees our carefree spirit as we become more comfortable in our clothes. Festivals are everywhere. Spontaneous barbecue gatherings and kids splashing in their small swimming pools.

I lived for a large part of my adult life in countries that didn’t have four seasons. It was always summer. The temperatures would fall slightly in winter, but that was it! When I returned to the Netherlands, I was struck by the effect different seasons had on the people around me. It is evident that my clothes and attitudes changed, but I also noticed a shift. Can a simple switch between seasons be enough to transform our society into a utopia where everyone is happy? It is challenging to know the answer. There are only a few pieces of evidence, such as small changes in how people interact with us and the existence of Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD), ironically. This is not my goal, but rather to discover the meaning of summer and how it affects us.

Spring is, first and foremost, a time when new things begin. Spring is the season when flowers bloom and animals emerge from hibernation. Summer is often viewed as the season where exciting and new things take place. Summer is when schools are closed, and children have more time to do whatever they like. Summer is often used in literature and other art forms to symbolize youth and innocence. For example, William Wordsworth’s poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud describes the joy of seeing the beauty of a field of daffodils. Because of the description of abundant nature and the feeling of bliss (typical of 18th-century literature), I cannot help but think about summer whenever I come across this poem. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is another popular piece of literature set in this time. Although the feeling of bliss in this play is less intense than other passionate feelings like love and lust, it does portray. Even though Shakespeare’s plays were written many years ago, Wordsworth’s poems are still relevant today. However, modern movies and literature can still reflect their summer symbolism. Grease’s well-known song Summer Lovin’ explores the idea of intense love and lust occurring during summer but that they ‘die off’ after that summer (although everyone knows that Sandy and Danny will eventually get back together). What does all this mean for you? It can be challenging to define what summer is. The reason is that meanings can vary depending on who you ask. It might be a two-month period with no responsibilities and fun activities for some, while it may be for others.

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