Summer is one of my favorite season. It means life, awakening, blue skies, green trees and plenty of sunshine. As a child it meant going to my grandmother's house, going swimming, frog catching, bike riding, long days and short nights.
I'd look forward to sitting under the trees of our backyard sanctuary, listening to the birds and basking in the sunlight. Maybe I'll bring out my laptop and write, inspired by the beauty. All the colors come out of their winter hibernation.
And as the colors come out of their hibernation, my skin sheds its winter white, too. My freckles darken and my cheeks glow rosy red. All right, all right, for those of you who know me, you know that I am pasty white all year round. Dang it.
But I find myself stopping at least 10 times a day to enjoy the bright newness popping up around us, whether it's feeling the air get cool as I run through a shaded green-treed trail to our creek or watching the sunset create magical sky-paintings.
When I was young, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by happy music, good books and magic. I've chosen to root myself in these ideals. It may sound silly, but I'd rather emulate a Disney princess than just about anything. Belle, from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," was always a favorite role model. She wasn't afraid to be different and extraordinary. And like her, I'd rather find treasures in a good book than channel surf through filth, rubbish, slime, muck and putrescence. I don't ever want to be content sitting in a thoughtless stupor and watching other people live my dreams.
I wasn't quite a girly girl. I loved to play in the mud and wrestle with my brother. I climbed trees and caught crawdads in the river. Once, we caught a pail of frogs and left them in the basement window well and they all escaped, or so my mom said.
My inner child was a pioneer, off to explore my world and to conquer. I was a cowgirl riding my stick horse, leading a red wagon train of kids and blankets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and toy pistols and other Western paraphernalia around the neighborhood block.
So even though we are older, the inner child within each of us longs to be heard, to be embraced and followed. Our inner child is creative, innocent and holds the keys to our true desires, though over time our inner child is often told to sit, be still and listen. The keys that our inner child holds are then stuffed deep down into the pocket and forgotten.
One of my favorite stories growing up (and still is) was "Peter Pan."
In a behind-the-scenes clip on the "Finding Neverland" DVD, actor Dustin Hoffman said: "In Peter Pan, there is a place called Neverland, and if you ask people what the metaphor is, you will get different answers. One person might say it is a journey to imagination, to creativity, others may say, it means you never die. Neverland is the place that exists for all of us in the 'wish' part of our brains."
We should never forget our "inner child." We must always remember what it was like to not have a care in the world.
One of my all time favorite songs is called "Fireflies" by Faith Hill. She sings of times where she would catch frogs, call them princes and make herself a queen. She tells of how she'd sleep in castles and fall in love because she was taught to dream.
My favorite part of the whole song means a lot to me because it reminds me of myself. It says: "I found mayonnaise bottles and poked holes on top to capture Tinkerbell. They were just fireflies to the untrained eye, but I could always tell. I believe in fairytales and dreamers' dreams like bed sheet sails. And I believe in Peter Pan and miracles, and anything I can to get by. And fireflies."
So in the spirit of keeping "Neverland" alive, I plan on making this summer the greatest adventure of them all.