Ah, summer! Today is the first full day of the season, and just letting the word roll softly off my tongue conjures up all sorts of happy childhood memories.

Summer! The joyous, carefree days of youth! The “shed your shoes and run barefoot in the grass” kind of memories wash over you.

Summer! And the world is suddenly all sunny and bright—

But not for long. Today actually marks the turning point in the sun’s northern climb across the earth and the days start getting shorter as we head in the opposite direction, toward the winter solstice.

As a student, and then as a teacher, that little scientific fact never stopped me from enjoying every moment of my time off. Now in retirement, life’s a little less organized into seasons. The “end of summer” is no longer marked by the beginning of school. Every day can be a holiday if I choose.

And I do choose!