On A Summer Day

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. Henry James

A summer morning is every bit as beautiful to me, the clear light, freshness in the air, the sun reflecting off the nearby buildings. I head out and it is already approaching 90. This is going to be a perfect summer day.

How do others view summer mornings and afternoons? To find out I did a targeted search of the word “summer” in my commonplace book, a collection of passages from practically every book I’ve read since 1988.

Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels.

Christopher Wilkins The Measure of Love

I felt like someone feels who spends a bright summer’s afternoon in a dark, smoky cinema, engrossed in some tenebrous gothic drama, only to emerge blinking into a world where it is still broad daylight and where there are shops and children and safety and laughter and people getting on with their lives.

Ann Patchett Bel Canto
In Paris, Simon Thibault had loved his wife, though not always faithfully or with a great deal of attention. They had been married for twenty-five years. There had been two children, a summer month spent every year at the sea with friends, various jobs, various family dogs, large family Christmases that included many elderly relatives.

Colm Toibin The Master
…he could not stop asking himself what he wished for now, and answering that he wanted only more of this—calm days, a beautiful small house and this soft summer light.

Anita Brookner A Friend from England
One always expects the summer to last for much longer than it does: one forgets the very sensation of being cold.

Andre Aciman Out of Egypt
Summers were long in Venice, she said, and there was nothing she liked more some days than to take the vaporetto and ride around the city, or head directly for the Lido and spend a morning on the beach by herself. She loved the sea. I loved it too, I said, reminding her that it was she who taught me how to swim.

Ian McEwan The Child in Time
I don’t remember a hotter summer than this in seventy-four years. It’s hot. In fact, I’d say it was too hot. Stephen said that was better than too wet and his father agreed. …Give me the heat anytime.

Elizabeth Hawes Camus, a Romance
In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.

Natalia Ginzburg The Little Virtues
There are only two seasons in the Abruzzi: summer and winter. The spring is snowy and windy like the winter, and the autumn is hot and clear like the summer.

Alastair Reid Whereabouts: Notes on Being a Foreigner
I do not own a watch and pass the summer without ever knowing the time.

Andre Aciman Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere
…warm, intimate feeling that settles around noon on typically clear Roman summer days.

Richard Goodwin The American Condition

Now at Florence, when the air is red with the summer sunset and the campaniles begin to sound vespers and the day’s work is done, everyone collects in the piazzas. The steps of Santa Maria del Fiore swarm with men of every rank and every class; artisans, merchants, teachers, artists, doctors technicians, poets, scholars. …And this is the pleasure of the Florentine public.

Olah Olafsson Restoration
…summer arrived with the most glorious weather imaginable: hot, sunny days and warm nights.