by Esther J. Perne
Hello, tank tops and flip flops and occasionally a warm hoodie. Hello, sunlight and moonbeams and welcome rain on the roof. Hello, woodland hikes and backroad bikes and lounging all day on a dock!
July, the middle month of the summer, of the year, of the school schedule is ideal for vacations and celebrations, for evenings that can be stretched out and outings that can be squeezed in, when challenges of cold weather past have faded and preparations for cold spells to come can be postponed.
July is the month of flowers in full bloom and gardens promising fresh produce and weekly opportunities to browse through farmers' markets, stop at roadside stands and buy local at the region's supermarkets and stores.
It is the month of outdoor concerts and art fests and craft fairs in practically every community each week and outdoor movies at drive-ins and in parking lots and of the legendary Maine International Film Festival, where the best of foreign and independent and historic and Maine films are on the 10-day long schedule.
July means day trippers stopping by the water to picnic and plan a staycation boat ride or hike, and it means tourists from all corners of the country stopping to take in a lifestyle dreams are made of.
Every day in July is a celebration but there are some special ones that work well in Maine. The 4th of July is a day of many comebacks this season of parades, gatherings and fireworks, live music, good food, competitions and games and activities for children.
July 12, according to the list of special days during the month, is National Simplicity Day a day to celebrate the simple things in life including nature, conservation and what really matters.
And July 22, for those who can't take a vacation or staycation or take in a celebration, is Summer Leisure Day a day to just take a break, slow down, enjoy summer-in-place.
As July begins, the opportunities that lie ahead are tantalizing. Stroll along a wooded trail or down an historic street. Dine or picnic by the water. Sail, paddle or motor across a sunlit lake. Catch the big one, or make the claim. Pick berries, golf or work on a tan. And, always, whenever possible include children.