When I was a kid, I always dreaded seeing the first “Back to School” ad on TV. It reminded me that summertime wouldn’t last forever — that eventually, my days of swimming, bike-riding and playing with my friends would be replaced by homework, quizzes and tests.

When I walked into Walmart the other day, I noticed that they had already started setting up their annual “Back to School” display. As I gazed at the shelves stacked with pencils and notebooks, I felt the same pang of disappointment that I felt back then.

I might not have to go back to school this year, but it is still sad to think that summer break is almost half over. June flew by, and July is whizzing by even more quickly. Before we know it, the leaves will start changing as the crispness of fall settles in.

There is something about long summer days that takes me back to my childhood. I don’t know if it’s the afternoon thunderstorms, the warm evening breeze or the sound of crickets chirping as the last sliver of sunshine slides behind the mountains. All I know is that I look forward to this season all year, and I’m always sad to see it go.

So, to everyone out there who is stressing about organizing trips, hosting visitors or just watering the lawn every day, I say this: enjoy the summer while you can. Remember back in February when you would have given anything for a warm, sunny day?

Well, now that you’ve gotten your wish, get out there and enjoy it! Take a hike, go for a bike ride, head to a park or just sit out on your front porch with a good book and a cool glass of lemonade. Come September, you’ll be glad you did.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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