Some summer thoughts as the season begins.

As of 12 a.m. today, summer officially begins, a season of fun for some, a season of work for others who, out of necessity, make hay while the sun shines. And, the sun will be shining on June 21 longer than on any other day in 2013. Officially, we’ll have 11 hours and 47 minutes of sunlight.

Summer is more than numbers, though. It’s a season of swimming or swinging at baseballs. It means days of hot toil for those working outside with occasional weekends at the lake to cool down.

Summer deserves an ode because it equals freedom: freedom for our country, freedom from the four walls of winter. Summer wheels turn as families head out for cooler climes, creating memories to be long remembered. Joggers, walkers, skateboarders, cyclists … feet are set loose as weather no longer holds them bound.

Summer night skies are milky warm, while mornings awaken mild and sometimes muggy. Warmer ground is for gardening with tasty, homegrown tomatoes and other delectable delicacies picked fresh and served on the same day--or else eaten on the spot.

Summer is green and soothing, the sound of wind raking through, or shaking, branches and leaves on trees. The season brings birds for watching, as a multitude of species settle down in their summer home.

These are days of fishing and hooking a big one, proven by a photograph sure to find its way into the family album.

Picnics are pure summer, as watermelon juice trickles down faces while Styrofoam plates and potato chips fly off of tables. Top it all off with hand-churned ice cream for the perfect picnic-ending.

Summer is a state of mind. Certainly, it’s hot, but thanks to the miracle of AC we can all have an escape: just go inside for awhile to cool down and then head out for another round.

Summer is for dreaming and reading, our imaginations set free beneath a broken sky of cumulus clouds.

For three months, summer is king, ruling and reigning over us, perhaps oppressively at times, while graciously allowing us freedom to wonder, to do, to be, to explore.