I have always heard the word “summertime” and have come across it in books and watched the features of the season in movies. But I never fully understood what it meant practically.
Ah, summertime! That was the missing word from what I was already exposed to back in my homeland. It has always been there, always, with me. And I had no inkling or so I thought until a few years later when I arrived in Europe. Summertime. Sunshine. Hot sun. What is the difference between these words? Well, Nevermind. I come from a tropical region where the sun is up and high until sundown in the eventide. I have experienced serious heat waves and the severe sunburst of terrifying fiery sunlight. It burns the skin. It heats up the body to the extent of producing blocks of sweat on one’s brow. The weather in Nigeria is quite hot and humid and people wish for rain or anything that will shield the sun from shining profusely on the skin. Anything at all that would pacify the heat and send chilly coolness to the body.
It took me this sojourn to Europe to understand better that some degree of sunshine is needed to produce the much-needed vitamin D for the body. This means that a little sunshine never hurts. Unfortunately, there’s not plenty of sunshine in Denmark, a country that is associated with excruciating cold and severe snow. However, contrary to this popular opinion, Denmark is not all shades of brutal cold.
So my first summer in Denmark was eventful and interesting. I was always sitting at a Café in downtown or lounging at the beachside watching people and nature. A common sight during this season is the massive number of people sunbathing on the sand and relaxing their nerves along the boardwalk. The parks are always crowded in the weekends as everyone wants to have a memorable moment in the sunshine. Seeing the stretch of beautiful bodies that litter the whole field and exotic gardens became a huge attraction for me. But I always wondered why they appreciated the sun so much unlike our attitude back in my homeland. Perhaps, the difference lies in the strength of the heat wave.
Upon reflection, I realized the disparity between the two societies. Two countries, two continents, different weather, different cultural belief, were the difference between where I was born and my new society. To make summertime more enjoyable, there are pretty waterfront restaurants and great cafes to relax with good food and drinks. Denmark is littered with seas and lakes as well as attractive sceneries that appear like paradise. And I loved them.
I fitted into this summer routine quite easily as my admiration for nature skyrocketed with the lush greeneries of the environment. I love to sit in a solitary space and watch nature move magically. It was amazing. Always intriguing! If you stared at it for a long time, watching the clouds come and go, the sun setting in a magnificent flourish, you would think, maybe, it was talking with you.
And I loved to watch the colours of the sky during this season. The blue sky with skirmishes of white splatter is angelic. There it stands above me, a vastness one can only imagine of what lies beyond, with its whimsical clouds in a partial canopy, playing hide and seek with the sun. Pools of sunshine streamed through, leaving a heavenly glow below as I bask in awe of the ominous Skyscapes.
And I remember the afternoons spent in Lagos, Nigeria where houses are tightly built together. Where it feels like hell on a hot day with a burning sensation and desire to savour the coolness from a cold drink. The thoughts of tropical fruits besiege my inner space and I long for the tasteful strength derived in the brightly yellow mangoes, the reddish watermelon, the oranges, pineapples, and papayas which we called pawpaw with reckless abandon.
I remember the pawpaw in our compound and I flinched at the rate of wastage back then as a kid. We watched the pawpaws fall to the ground. We watch them decay. We had no craving for them, unlike today. I pay hugely to purchase papayas from the Danish stores. Ouch. I love the sweet and succulent tangerines spread out at the Agboju market, in Festac town. It felt like heaven to enjoy these fruits just so to quench the impact of the scorching sun. The tongue tasted different palettes and shades of organic fruits devoid of artificial preservatives. A big contrast to the preservatives found in almost everything we consume nowadays.
I have come to love the summer season. And I wish this glowing phase of the year should not end but linger for a little longer, or perhaps even forever. However, nothing lasts forever. Seasons come and seasons go. What matters is to enjoy the radiant atmosphere and the robust sunlight while it lasts. Indeed, I’ve enjoyed the summertime that even if the next season comes knocking, I would gladly open the door.
PS: This post is an excerpt from my unpublished book. (unedited)
Peace and Love!
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