I like to think that finding small joys is a strength of mine. So, when I was asked to write this post, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. There’s the obvious: books and tea. Food is something that consistently brings me joy. So do cuddles from my dogs. However, I wasn’t sure I could write a full post on any of these things (except books… and, well, you can hear my thoughts on that here every other month of the year).
Then it came to me.
Ask me my favourite season and my answer will generally be the current season (unless it’s winter. I am not a fan of the cold—even what passes for it in Australia). But summer brings together all of my favourite things. Like sunshine.
During the holiday season and the frantic, head-long rush to the end of the year, the long daylight hours are particularly welcome. There’s enough time after dinner to take the dogs for a second walk. The golden light of the late afternoon makes for some gorgeous photos. And let’s not forget the sunsets.
For me, summer is a time of bounty. It’s all about the fruit. Passionfruit on vanilla ice cream. Trays of mangoes. And in the latter half of the season, my favourite: blackberries.
Every few days, I brave the mosquitoes to pick buckets and buckets of blackberries. I never get sick of them. Even so, there’s way more than I could ever eat and bags get given away to family and friends.
Any early blackberries get included in the fruit salad which forms an important staple in my family’s Christmas breakfast.
Yes, summer means Christmas. Along with fruit salad, family breakfast includes freshly baked banana bread and raspberry muffins. Cannelloni and salads for (vegetarian) lunch, followed by plum pudding with ice cream, cream or custard (or all three for the brave). And that’s just one of my three family Christmases.
My grandmother travels over for the occasion. She’s my last surviving grandparent and she turned 93 this year. She’s still in pretty good health (better than me, I sometimes think), but it’s important to me to appreciate every moment I have with her.
I also have two young nephews who have brought magic back to Christmas for my family. Their delight in the decorations and presents is a joy to behold.
My dogs get in on the occasion, too.
Christmas means presents… which, more often than not, means books for me. Summer is my best season for reading. How better to while away the hottest part of the day than with a mug of iced tea (unsweetened) and a good book? Indeed, it never feels like it has been a proper holiday without at least one binge read of some kind.
And, if I’m really lucky, I’ll manage a trip to the beach.
Few things make my heart happier than having shells to photograph. Plus, it’s so lovely to cool off in the ocean… after slathering myself in sunscreen.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. Fortunately, there’s always autumn to look forward to.
Elizabeth Fitzgerald is a freelance editor and owner of Earl Grey Editing. She runs an award-nominated book blog, and was a judge for the 2016 Aurealis Awards. Her fiction has appeared in the anthologies Next and Mother of Invention. She lives in Canberra, Australia. An unabashed roleplayer and reader of romance, her weaknesses are books, loose-leaf tea and silly dogs. She tweets @elizabeth_fitz.