I’ve been traveling a lot lately and I enjoy long plane rides if only because they permit me to read. Lately I’ve encountered numerous stories about 1967’s “Summer of Love” (SCA’s 50th isn’t the only anniversary going on).
I’ll admit it: I was around during the Summer of Love, though as I was all of 11 years old I didn’t fully participate in the, um, experience. What I most remember is spending three weeks with my family on a lake in southwestern Maine. I did all the typical kid things: swimming, ﬁshing, wandering through the woods — the very activities Richard Louv notes many of today’s children miss out on. As a city kid, exploring this strange new outdoor world was a blast.
Rainy days were often my favorites. The other vacationers would ﬂee indoors to their jigsaw puzzles and paperbacks, or jump in the car and go antiquing. And that left everything outside to me. The clouds made the world seem very small, as if someone had trapped me under a giant, fog-ﬁlled bowl. Except I didn’t feel captive, I felt freed.
I loved walking barefoot through the wet grass. Getting a sudden soaking whenever a breeze rustled the overhead branches into applause. Watching fuel from the ﬁshing boats form an undulating Peter Max poster on the lake surface (and remember, this was without the chemical enhancements of the day).
One afternoon, ambling through the raindrops along a pock-marked beach, I found a plastic salamander that had apparently washed ashore. It was shiny black with the most perfectly shaped yellow polka dots. I picked it up and got the shock of my life when it started squirming between my ﬁngers. I regret to report the little critter became the ﬁrst amphibian in space.
Just the same, if you’re planning to hit the mountains, beach or both in the next week, my advice is don’t let any showers dampen your day. With the right mindset, true adventure can be yours if you just add water and stir. Or as Clapton sang in ‘67, “let it rain, let it rain…let it ra-aa-ain.”