It is just summer, freshly baked and hot off the calendar. The solstice arrived marking June 21 the longest day of the year. From here on in, my husband likes reminding me, the days get shorter. Not intentionally meaning to be the bearer of bad news, he is a simply a winter person while I bask in the glow of summer's allure as long as possible, stretching each day like a rubber band, not wanting to let go.

Summer has always been my time to push the refresh button, and sink back into a few months when the pressure is off, and little is required of me than to savor the moments. Other months, I am locked in with a fury that that propels me to be productive. But summer grants me a pardon. I am free to languish on porches or throw a beach blanket on the sand to luxuriate in the art of doing nothing at all. Inertia, after all, is not a lengthy visitor.

Children do summer best. It is an innate desire to take pleasure in the smallest of ways, and by doing so, they perpetuate the grand and glorious few months with a passion exemplifying childhood at its best -- what we look back upon as adults, and with a sigh, murmur: "remember when?"

Thankfully, I do remember -- when summers lay out before me like a long, lazy yawn, my father shouting after me to grab some rags, and help him wash the car that stood in the driveway ready for some father/daughter attention. I remember pies cooling on window sills, the rustle and sway of silk dresses and the aroma of hickory smoke wafting through backyards as the summer sun set on another idyllic day; the night sky gorging on stars.

Summer memories are the best -- the ones I return to on cold January mornings when the snow is knee-high, and the color gray seems the daily pigment-palette. Too much time is spent in dark days -- months of them -- and then suddenly without warning, I awaken one morning and there is a shift in color, in movement. The air smells differently, and a streak of sunlight slices my room welcoming me in to a summer morning. There are many such days now, and I live among them, feeling as unrestricted as toes dipped in mud-puddles.

As I write, the neighbor's cat saunters by my window -- a welcome visitor that has too long retreated from view. Now he is back with the touch of summer in him, ready to take on the day chasing squirrels or peering into the holes of anonymous critters that punctuate the backyard landscape.

Summer encourages change. Dark clothes are shed, and in its place are pastel-colored T-shirts over jeans. Fresh from a shower, a dab of flowered cologne and I am ready to take on the day. I work well in warm weather. My senses are stirred, and the words almost dance off the page, unencumbered. I attribute this to my newly-acquired demeanor that feels in sync, unrushed with a semblance of order that is often absent on chaotic, colder days when my energy is spent trying to keep warm. But, summer requires nothing -- no preparation. It's a come-as-you-are season. I pick up a pen, and sentences seem to write themselves -- scribbled with wild abandon in a sunlit haze.

The sounds of summer provide the background music -- an orchestral chant that serenades all day, and at night lulls me to sleep. I prefer open windows to an air-conditioned room. "Fake air" I call it feels intrusive, interrupting the ambiance of an otherwise fragrant night.

And so, I linger, insinuating myself deeply within summer's grasp, extolling her virtues that are all too fleeting, and wishing to be nowhere else but here.

Judith Marks-White's "The Light Touch" appears each Wednesday. She may be reached at joodth@snet.net or www.judithmarks-white.com.